SSP KB Keerthiratne, who was in charge of the Kegalle division, has admitted before the Kegalle Magistrate’s Court that he had ordered the shooting to disperse the public protest that took place in Rambukkana on April 19.
A 41-year-old father of two, Chaminda Lakshan, was shot dead by the police and SSP Keerthiratne has stated this while testifying at the preliminary hearing of the case in the Kegalle Magistrate’s Court yesterday (22).
The SSP told the magistrate that he had seen several people bringing matches and lighters to set fire to the fuel bowser at the protest site and that he had ordered the police to shoot the protesters below the knee as there was no alternative to prevent the bowser from being destroyed.
The SSP said that if the protesters had set fire to the two fuel bowsers and the fuel station, there would have been a huge loss of life and property, adding that he and his officers were scared to death at that moment.
He also told the court that all the orders he had given were legal orders issued by him as the senior official at the scene.
However, IGP C.D. Wickramaratne was summoned before the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka yesterday, where he stated that he had strongly instructed the police not to use firearms to disperse the protesters and that they had carried out the Rambukkana shooting in defiance of his order.
The day after the incident, it was first revealed by Lanka News Web that the shooting was ordered by SSP Keerthiratne.
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