By Hemantha Randunu
The Terrorism Investigations Division (TID) yesterday obtained a statement from Joint Opposition (JO) MP, Dilum Amunugama over allegations that he had assisted violent elements responsible for communal riots in March.
Communal riots in some areas of Kandy commenced after protesters had attacked several shops in Digana on March 04 and 05 following the funeral of a lorry driver, who succumbed to his injuries after being beaten by several Muslim youth on Feb. 22, at a fuel filling station in Teldeniya. Protesters attacked several shops, owned by Muslims, in Moragahamula, near Teldeniya that night. Police and the STF were deployed in Teldeniya, Udispattuwa, Meda Mahanuwara and Ambala. According to reports 465 properties including 231 houses were destroyed and three persons killed during the riots. The most affected area had been the Kundasale Divisional Secretariat division.
The TID, on March 08, arrested Amith Jeevan Weerasinghe, alleged to be one of the masterminds of the communal unrest in Kandy and nine others, in predawn raids in Digana and Poojapitiya. The TID also arrested Weerasinghe’s second in command Sureda Suraweera. They are accused of spreading misinformation that led to communal violence, organising violent mobs that attack persons and property and using social media to incite violence.
Amunugama is accused of egging on the rioters and the TID had asked him to give a statement on May 10. However the MP stated that he could not arrive on May 10 and visited the TID around 11.30 am yesterday.
Civil Society Organizations alleged that police had remained inactive during the initial stages of the riots.