Ensuring security in Minuwangoda: Gunasekara took request lightly – UC Chair
By Buddhika Samaraweera
During a discussion held after the unrest in Minuwangoda on 13 May 2019, the then Minister, Edward Gunasekara, was requested by several parties, including himself (witness), to take steps to ensure the security of the area, had made a mockery of that request, said the Minuwangoda Urban Council (UC) Chairman, Neil Jayasekara.
He was testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday bombings, on 1 December.
When a Member of the Commission inquired as to whether he had gone to Minuwangoda to inquire about the unrest in the Town on that day, the witness said that he had not gone to the Town.
However, he added that he had given instructions to officers and informed the Police from home. The Police told me that I could not control the situation even if I went, he said.
Meanwhile, the Commission questioned the witness about the shops belonging to the UC and other businessmen in Minuwangoda which were set on fire by the rioters on that day.
He said that the fire brigade of the Gampaha Municipal Council was informed to control the fire and that a water bowser belonging to the Minuwangoda UC was dispatched at the request of Air Force officers.
Also, when the Commission inquired as to why there was a delay in sending the water bowser to the Minuwangoda Town, the witness said that an official of the UC had informed him that the bowser had suffered a technical fault that day.
He also said after the National Building Research Organisation said that most of the shops belonging to the UC were unsafe for business due to the damage caused by fire, those who were engaged in business in those shops were later told to evacuate by the UC.
Jayasekara said that a new supermarket complex is to be built in Minuwangoda and it has been agreed to provide shops in it for those businessmen. However, in response to a question raised by a Commission Member, he admitted that they had not prepared even a preliminary plan for its construction.