In view of escalating violent acts, the Ministry of Defence urged protesters, intent on harming the Armed Forces or public property to desist from all forms of violence immediately while warning to be prepared to face consequences.
In a statement, they pointed out that members of the Armed Forces are legitimately empowered to exercise their force if the situation deems necessary as security to public property, key installations, vulnerable points and human lives falls within their purview.
This statement was issued after two soldiers on duty at Battaramulla Polduwa Junction were beaten unconscious by a violent group with iron rods, poles who came to occupy the Parliament complex.
The soldiers’ T-56 rifles and two magazines were stolen, it was noted.
The Ministry emphasises that the theft of the two weapons and ammunition is a serious offence and poses a threat to public safety.
“The two soldiers were severely attacked in the face and head and were hospitalised in a very critical condition. The Secretary of Defence has strongly emphasised that attacking the Police, Security Force members and inciting the youth to do illegal activities, damaging public property and harassing the public is a threat to civil life.”
Accordingly, all instructions and orders have been given to the Chief of Defence Staff, the Tri-Forces Commanders and the Inspector General of Police to strictly implement law and order and prevent such actions and establish normalcy in the country, he added.
Under the Public Security Ordinance Act, the Armed Forces have been empowered, and the Police and the Armed Forces will work together to maintain law and order in the country under the supervision of the Ministry of Defence and work to ensure national security, the Ministry added.