…calls for an investigation into the lawmaker’s murder
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The president of the Colombo High Court Lawyers Association, Lakshman Perera, said yesterday (13) that the fate of Sri Lanka hinged on the success of ongoing efforts to stabilize its economy.
Lawyer Perera said that all political parties, represented in Parliament and outside, including civil society, should realize that the country was in such a bad state that there would be anarchy if the attempt to form an interim administration was failing.
When asked if Perera, in his capacity as president of the Colombo High Court Lawyers Association, approved the swearing in of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister, the spokesperson floor said he could not take a position on the matter without consulting the membership.
Perera, however, acknowledged the responsibility of all stakeholders, both inside and outside the political mainstream, to reach consensus on a workable deal on the developing economic, political and social crisis.
The official claimed that the violence unleashed against those who had demanded the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the entire Cabinet of Ministers, including the Prime Minister, on Monday (09) in Kollupitiya and Fort police areas and the retaliatory attacks were a grim reminder to those who wield political power at different levels.
Lawyer Perera said an explosive situation created by unprovoked attacks by those who attended a meeting chaired by then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa now threatened to ruin the country unless a consensus on a political settlement cannot be reached quickly.
The association, in a statement which was issued by its chairman Lakshman Perera and secretary Sarath Ekanayake ahead of Wickremesinghe’s swearing in as prime minister, strongly condemned the Sri Lankan Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) for the wanton attack against the protesting public.
Estimating the number of people injured in indiscriminate attacks at 150, they held the Colombo police responsible for their failure to thwart the Temple Trees project. The lawyers claimed the police had been irresponsible in their conduct and therefore guilty of what they said was an improper performance of their duties.
The bar association questioned the inability of the police to anticipate a serious breach of the peace following such a large gathering at Temple Trees or to receive advance warning from the intelligence services.
In their harshest recent criticism of the police, the Colombo High Court Lawyers Association alleged that the Colombo police had shamelessly served the interests of Temple Trees rather than enforcing the laws. .
Following the intervention of Attorney General Sanjaya Rajaratnam, IGP CD Wickremaratne ordered the DIG, in charge of the CID, to investigate the 09 May incidents.
Commenting on the police and Special Task Force (STF) deployed to Temple Trees on the day of the incidents, the lawyers alleged that law enforcement authorities had turned a blind eye to the brutal attacks on protesters. They only intervened after the first wave of attacks, the lawyers alleged, urging the IGP to take responsibility and resign immediately.
The lawyers insisted that the attacks could have been prevented by the IGP.
Warning of further escalation in protests unless growing public grievances are not addressed, the group of lawyers said they had no confidence in Prasanna Ranatunga, who was public security minister at the time. incidents.
Ranatunga succeeded retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera in the latest round of cabinet appointments.
They alleged that Ranatunga lacked the capacity to handle the May 9 attacks which sparked a series of incidents in areas outside the Northern and Eastern provinces. Crowds set fire to Ranatunga’s residence in Gampaha.
The association also highlighted the government’s responsibility to investigate the murder of Polonnaruwa District SLPP MP Amarakeerthi Atukorale in Nittambuwa Police Zone and his police bodyguard.
The slain MP was on his way home from attending the Temple Trees meeting when militia intercepted his vehicle.
The association made six demands, namely (1) the resignation of the IGP (2) legal action against the senior DIG in charge of the western province Deshabandu Tennakoon (3) a transparent and thorough investigation into the May 09 attacks carried out against those demanding change of government (4) Cooperate fully with the HRCSL (Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka) (5) Establish the rule of law (06) Implement the Constitution and international human rights instruments.
Warning that the public was suffering from the pathetic failure of the political party system, the association said the situation would be further aggravated if those in political power sought to protect their interests at the expense of national interests. The association said it would not hesitate to support what it calls a progressive movement aimed at establishing democracy and the rule of law in case the current system of political parties continues to fail the country.