HRC probe on Weliweriya

The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission has launched an investigation into the Weliweriya incident, Human Rights Commission Commissioner Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said.

He said that a special five member team had been sent to the area on Friday to carry out preliminary inquiries into the incident.

Dr. Mahanamahewa said that a five member team of the Human Rights Commission had recorded statements from the police, the public, a church in the area and from others involved in the incident.

He said that a discussion will take place on Monday between the Human Rights Commission, 26 government institutions and others based on the statements recorded over the incident.

“Following the discussion we hope to issue some recommendations,” he said.

The army has also launched an investigation into the clashes at Weliweriya amidst allegations soldiers mishandled the situation.

Army Commander Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake on Friday appointed a special board of inquiry headed by Major General Jagath Dias to investigate the army role in the clashes.

Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya said that most soldiers placed at Weliweriya have been withdrawn and only a few still remain there.

The army spokesman however noted that the soldiers never directly attacked the protesters and only defended themselves against a group who had attacked the police and army using petrol bombs.

Television footage showed soldiers firing in the air and at times directing their guns at the protesters who pelted stones and other objects at the troops during the violence earlier in the evening.

There were also reports that some people who sought refuge in a church were abused by the soldiers during the clash.  (Colombo Gazette)

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