Tangalle killing highlights LLRC concerns – UNP

The UNP yesterday said that Sunday’s killing of a foreign tourist, Kuram Shaika, an Arab-Israeli holding British citizenship and causing injuries to his female companion, at Nature resort at Medilla, Tangalle underscored the failure on the part of the government and the police to disarm politicians as recently pointed out by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

Deputy Secretary General of the UNP, parliamentarian Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena told The Island initial investigations had revealed that those responsible were a gang of SLFP activists led by the Chairman of a UPFA-run Pradeshiya Sabha in the Hambantota District.

The UNP named the wanted politician as Sampath Dissanayake. Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana declined to comment on those wanted by the police in connection with the inquiry. The official said that so far two persons, a 27-year-old resident of Pannipitiya and a 23-year-old youth from Vitharandeniya had been taken into custody along with the driver of the van used by the gang.

The police headquarters said that Shaika had received one gunshot injury and several stab injuries.

UNP Reformists said that it would be interesting to see how the government and the police reacted to the alleged involvement of an SLFP politician in a killing. Lal Perera, one of those now on bail for his alleged involvement in the raid on Sirikotha told The Island that Reformists expected the government to go after the Tangalle gang the way some of the UNP Reformists had been hunted in Colombo.

Responding to a query, Gampaha District MP Jayawardena said that he had raised the issue with Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who assured an impartial investigation regardless of political affiliations of the suspects.

MP Jayawardena claimed that the main suspect had been regularly seen in public carrying a T-56 assault rifle. That had been brought to the notice of the Defence Secretary, he said.

The LLRC had referred in its final report, to a dispute between UPFA parliamentarian Duminda Silva and Presidential Advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, which culminated in the deaths of several persons, including that of Premachandra during LG polls on Oct. 8, the President of the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya said. The LLRC strongly recommended that the government take immediate action to disarm persons in possession of unauthorized weapons and also prosecute such offenders, while faulting the government for ignoring its interim recommendation to recover unauthorized weapons.

Parliamentarian Jayawardena said that due to victim’s affiliation with the ICRC the Colombo-based diplomatic community would closely monitor the ongoing police investigation.

The UNPer said those seeking to save the influential politician would now try to defame the victim’s companion.

The injured woman who is in a critical condition with a serious eye injury was transferred from Tangalle to Matara hospital and from there to Karapitiya Teaching Hospital.

The UNP alleged that the cash-strapped government spent millions of rupees annually to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination. Sri Lanka Tourism bosses and the travel trade should form a common front to pressure the government to bring those involved in the Tangalle killing to justice.

SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena and UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha should explain their position as they had vowed to take action in the wake of Premachandra’s killing last October, MP Jayawardena said. The UNP asked whether the government would take disciplinary action against the suspect or at least suspend him from the party pending an investigation.


Courtesy: The Island – Pix by Business Today