The army can be deployed as a last resort during a protest but they should be accompanied by a Magistrate, Chief of Defence Staff General Jagath Jayasuriya said.
Speaking to media heads today, Jayasuriya said that the police should handle all law and order situations and the military can be called in only as a last resort.
Jayasuriya said that the Magistrate is there as a witness.
Asked if a Magistrate was present at Weliweriya during the recent incident when army support was sought to control a protest, Jayasuriya said that he will need to wait for an army inquiry to conclude to see if there was a Magistrate at the time.
The army had been accused of killing 3 protesters in Weliweriya and injuring several others when they attempted to disperse the protesters who had blocked the road while demanding clean water.
The army appointed a board of inquiry to investigate the actions of the troops during the incident.
Jayasuriya said copies of a preliminary report of the army on the incident will be handed over to Foreign Missions and to Parliament. (Colombo Gazette)
Report by Easwaran Rutnam