HRCSL urges action against Kegalle SSP

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The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) directed IGP C.D. Wickramaratne to take disciplinary action against former Kegalle SSP K.B. Keerthiratne, who ordered Police to open fire at protesters in Rambukkana, resulting in the death of one and injuring several others.

On the directive of IGP Wickramaratne, the CID arrested and remanded SSP Keerthiratne. The arrest warrant was issued by Kegalle Magistrate Wasana Navaratne on 27 April when the case was taken up, while observing that a protester had died of severe blood loss according to the Judicial Medical Officer.

A team of HRCSL officials visited the site at which the chain of events took place and conducted the initial site inspection and primary inquiry, following which the HRCSL appointed a multidisciplinary panel of experts with the mandate to conduct an independent investigation.

According to the HRCSL, the experts have had several sessions so far and are expected to submit their report after concluding its further proceedings.

On 19 April, a group of persons held a mass demonstration for over 15 hours, demanding a solution to 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 alight a fuel bowser parked nearby. Nearly 30 persons sustained injuries, including Police Officers, while one protester was killed.