Rambukkana Protest: Former Kegalle SSP, three others remanded

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Judge gavel and scale in court. Library with lot of books in background

Former Kegalle SSP K.B. Keerthirathna and three other Police Constables who were arrested over the shooting that took place during the Rambukkana protest on 19 April were remanded today (29).

SSP K.B. Keerthirathna was remanded till 06 May by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court, while the three other Police Constables belonging to the Kegalle Police Division were remanded till13 May on orders of the Theldeniya Magistrate’s Court.

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) yesterday (28) arrested the former Kegalle SSP and the three Constables (currently receiving treatment at the Kundasale Police Hospital) on orders of the Inspector General of Police.

IGP C.D. Wickramaratne yesterday ordered the CID to act on the court order issued by the Kegalle Magistrate’s Court to arrest the police personnel involved in the Rambukkana shooting.

Last week (22), SSP Keerthirathna, together with the SP and OIC of the Rambukkana Police, was transferred with immediate effect in order to conduct an independent investigation and assist the ongoing judicial procedures.

When the case was taken up before the Kegalle Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday (27), the IGP was ordered to arrest and produce in court all police personnel involved in the Rambukkan shooting, claiming the life of a protester, while injuring nearly 30 others including 10 police officers.

Earlier this month (19), a group of persons staged a mass demonstration for over 15 hours demanding a solution for the ongoing fuel crisis, while blocking all entry and exit roads into the Rambukkana town, including the railway crossing.

Police later fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse the protesters, and had subsequently opened fire, claiming that a group had tried to set ablaze a fuel bowser nearby.

Nearly 30 persons sustained injuries, including police personnel, while one protester was killed.

The Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) later confirmed that the individual, identified as 42-year0old Chaminda Lakshan, had died of gunshot injuries.

IGP C. D. Wickramaratne later ordered the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to conduct an impartial investigation into the incident, after the SSP of Kegalle revealed in court that he had initially given orders to fire into the air, and then later to open fire below the knees of protesters. so as to prevent any critical damage.