Justifying brutal way of controlling a protest, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Public Security Prasanna Ranatunga said on Wednesday (20) the police shooting and killing of a protester in the island nation’s central town of Rambukkana saved over 300 lives.
A protester was shot dead in a clash when a protest turned into violence in Rambukkana on Tuesday. Another 24 have been injured with two are treated for critical injuries, hospital sources have said. The protest was staged by thousands of local area people against fuel shortage and price hike.
Police have said they used “minimum force” to control the protest and they had to resort to such tough action when protesters attempted to set fire a bowser with over 30,000 litres of fuel, forcefully stopped across the main railway crossing.
Many opposition legislators asked Ranatunga to resign as he failed in his duty as the minister in charge of police.
“I must say if the police didn’t take that action, 300 -400 would have been killed by now,” he told the parliament referring to the blast of the fuel bowser.
“If that had happened, these people would ask me why I stayed until such disaster happened.”
The minister’s comments came as Sri Lanka’s international partners including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Norway as well as the United Nations and global rights groups have raised concerns over the violence and asked for an impartial and independent investigation.