Katuwana Killings: Remove Gotabhaya and appoint career Administrator as Defence Secretary

Mangala Samaraweera MP

by Mangala Samaraweera

Police spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana accepted that two persons including a woman died due to an unarmed gang shooting at a Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) local meeting held in Katuwana in the Hambantota district on 15 June (2012).

He said, a group of unidentified men on motorcycles had opened fire at the meeting killing and injuring people. Police sources said, around 100 JVP supporters had attended the meeting and the gunmen had arrived on 03 motorcycles.

We stress here, any political party, whether in the government or in the opposition has the same equal right to participate in democratic political activities without restrictions, intimidations and threats of any sorts. Therefore, it is the undisputed and unchallenged responsibility of this government to allow such democratic political activity, in any part of the country. The responsibility of this armed thuggery in breaking up a democratic political meeting at the cost of 02 lives and injuries to many others, therefore has to be totally borne by the Rajapaksa regime, more so, because it is their family bastion of political power, the shooting had taken place.

It is also no secret in Hambantota that an armed gang in this area is operating in the open with T-56 riffles in hand and the people in the area claim, the police are ineffective as this armed gang is being sponsored by the Rajapaksas. It was in this area that a bus carrying UNP supporters was shot at during the 2010 January presidential elections and a woman was killed. We are yet to hear of the outcome of the investigations into that killing, 02 years and 06 months after the shooting.

As with all other extra judicial killings, abductions, involuntary disappearances and killing of protesters, we don’t have any reason to believe, there will be independent investigations and a proper judicial process initiated, in this double murder. Such is the efficiency of this Secretary to the Defence Ministry, who brags that crime in Sri Lanka has not increased as opposition politicians claim.

Yet as the opposition we firmly believe, a Secretary who takes pride in being the almighty of defence and enforcement of law and order, having the police department too under his administration, is totally responsible for all custodial killings in this country, serious increase in sexual abuse of children and for 1,847 cases of rape and incest, 103 cases of extortions and 877 cases of abductions in the year 2010 as reported by the Police and for 471 cases of rape and incest, 18 cases of extortions and 235 cases of abductions during the first 03 months of the year 2011 that comes within a total of 12,281 crimes of every sort during those 03 months.

Lets also not forget that it is under this same Secretary to the Ministry of Defence that for the first time we heard, a group of police personnel taking into contract killing and also an army officer getting into the business of killing for money. It is also under this Secretary to the Ministry of Defence that 02 police stations were completely mobbed by villagers for custodial killing of youth.

This country, can not afford to allow such an inefficient, non administrative service person to handle a serious and important ministry as its Secretary, and allow the country to go chaotic and into anarchy. People of this country, what ever their political affiliations can not live with such unsolved crime, dictated by politically backed armed thugs under a Secretary, who is not even willing to accept he is a total failure as a State officer.

We therefore don’t believe even this shooting and killing at Katuwana will be independently investigated and solved under his administration. We therefore demand that the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence be immediately removed and the position be vested with a career administrator, as the first step in restoring sanity in law enforcement.

(Text of a press release issued on the incident of shooting at a political meeting in Katuwana, Hambantota by Mangala Samaraweera MP Matara District and Convenor, Media Committee, UNP)