Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith condoling with families affected by the Police shooting, which harmed the lives of several Rambukkana protesters, urged the Government to carry out an independent probe into the attack and take stringent action against those responsible for the killing.
Addressing the media at Archbishop’s House in Colombo, Cardinal Ranjith yesterday (20) condemned the armed attack on the Rambukkana protesters and said, the protests had been carried out by persons who were severely affected by the current economic crisis, and the increasing price of fuel. However, Police and the authorities used the Armed Forces to suppress the oppressed, when the country’s Constitution sanctions the right of the public to hold protests.
He said this brought to mind similar protests which saw a bloody end. The Rambukkana incident brings to mind the armed force used to crush unarmed protests that were carried out at the Katunayake Free Trade Zone, Rathupaswala and Chilaw in the past. The practise of using weapons to combat unbearable economic distress must now be stopped, his Eminence said.
Cardinal Ranjith warned protesters to be guarded against the machinations of unscrupulous forces who would want to provoke them into destroying public property, and violate the rights of others.
“The best way to protest is to show our displeasure in a democratic and clear manner,” he urged.
“Do not let your emotions get the better of you. As then the purpose of your demonstration could be defeated but act with the intelligence shown by the young men and women protesting at Galle Face,” he said.
He urged the Government to give a hearing to the voice of the people and change their ways. Ensure that democracy functions in the proper way. The voice of the Tri Nikaya Mahanayake Theras should be heard at this juncture. They asked for an interim administration and not changes such as the ones that were being made, he added.
By Dilanthi Jayamanne