By Chrishanthi Christopher
Hirunika, daughter of the slain government politician last week expressed satisfaction at the turn of events in the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra murder case that brought politician Duminda Silva under arrest.
Last month the case entered its watershed when the Magistrate’s Court indicted UPFA Member of Parliament Duminda Silva and 12 others, who were charged with the murder of Presidential Adviser and former Parliamentarian, Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and three others. In a sudden move, the CID last February filed four counts of charges on 19 February against 13 suspects, including Duminda Silva before the Magistrate’s Court. Following an indictment order from the Magistrate’s Court to produce the suspects in Court, the case that had been dragging on for 18 months ground to a sudden halt.
Duminda Silva, who was being treated at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, was rushed to a private hospital in Colombo on Thursday (7) morning. His family said he is still sick and needs medical attention. Duminda’s father had filed an application for bail at the High Court stating his son is ailing.
Hirunika Premachandra, a law student who will be taking her oaths in April this year, talking to Ceylon Today, said she is happy about the developments in the case. Commending the CID for their good work, she said she had been under the impression there is no law and order in the country. “I have been fighting for one-and-a-half years for justice and only now something is happening. This is only the first step and I want the law to take its full course and ensure justice is done,” she said.
She went on to say she has a daunting task before her, and she is a lone voice in the wilderness, crying out for justice for her father. “It is very formidable and I keep remembering I am fighting against ruthless politicians,” she said. Hirunika believes her only strength is her ability to fight, no matter what. “I believe in my ability to fight till the last. I have no money or thugs around me to back me up, but I depend totally on my courage to fight to the end,” she said. Hirunika hopes maximum punishment will be meted out to the culprits.
Fears for her life
The bold and outspoken Hirunika is not without any fear. She has fears she may be silenced, for good, and is concerned about her life. “I am the only one who is talking about the case. There will be no case if they shut me up, and everybody will conveniently forget the case,” she said.
She believes in fighting the case to the end. “I want to live to fight the case. I do not want to have any regrets. I want to fight until the last breath,” she said.
Referring to the driver who gave an eye witness account of what had happened at the scene of the crime and is now retracting his statement, she said, money can do a lot of things. “I like to meet the driver face to face and ask him if what he says now is true.” She however said the authorities should take the original statement as correct as in any incident, a person’s memory is accurate when it is made at the time the incident took place. She treated the news that Duminda Silva wants to get back to politics as ludicrous. “It is a laughable matter. The people have to decide whether they want him back in politics or not, not him. He has been charged with rape, murder and kidnapping. The people have to take a wise decision.”
‘Rendezvous’ with Ranil
Referring to the ‘rendezvous’ she had with UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe recently, which sparked media speculation that she would be joining the Opposition, she said she did not visit him, but went to meet her lawyer, Ajith Pathirana, to hand over some money. “Apparently, he is a UNP supporter and at the time he was with Ranil Wickremesinghe. “I was invited to speak to him by my colleague who was there as well.” She said they did not discuss politics but only spoke about her studies. “Wickremesinghe inquired about my studies and advised me to complete my studies in the field of law.
He told me to become a lawyer first and then get into politics. Then nobody can touch me. I spoke to him for about five minutes,” she explained. The case was originally handled by Attorney-at-Law, Upul Kumaraperuma, but within the 18 months, the family had switched lawyers. Counsel Ajith Pathirana, Attorney-at-Law who has taken up the case for the plaintiff is a close family friend of the Premachandras. “We changed the lawyer because we felt he being a family friend and who had been close to my father, would do a better job,” Hirunika said.
Pathirana lauded the Attorney General’s action to arrest Duminda Silva. He said suspect Silva has been absconding arrest for a long time. He argued if Silva is really sick as he claims to be, he should be produced before a Judicial Medical officer (JMO) certifying his health conditions. Private doctors certifiying he is sick cannot be taken seriously, he said. Pathirana claims there is enough evidence that Duminda Silva had killed four persons, and believed the AG’s office will not grant him bail.
Sumana Premachandra, wife of the late Bharatha Premachandra, said she is not that happy with the turn of events. She questioned as to why the authorities did not arrest Silva at the airport.
“They waited till the family took him to the hospital. We really don’t know whether he is sick, but I want justice, and the people responsible to be punished,” she said. “I want an impartial judgement on the case,” she added. Commenting on the photographs shown by lawyers to authenticate Silva is still sick, she said it cannot be corroborated as the lawyers are showing the photographs and not the doctors. “Even you and I can show such photos,” she said. “There is no justice in the country,” she lamented.
Counsel for the respondent, Attorney-at-Law and PC, Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, said he is confident his client will be granted bail. He said, however, he cannot speak about the case and he has ordered the doctor, Silva’s family and others not to talk. about the case to anybody.