The JVP says the government is responsible for the shooting incident in Katuwana, Hambantota on Friday (15) evening that killed two persons and injured a few others and also caused damage to 10 vehicles.
JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that underworld groups affiliated to the government continuously harassed people in the Beliatte, Walasmulla and Katuwana areas.
“The situation was worse during the last elections and some of these goons even spoke on government election platforms in support of certain members in the government,” he said.
He explained that a group of persons carrying weapons cannot travel about freely and spray bullets at a political meeting in the Medamulana area without the support of the government since there are many police and army personnel deployed to provide security to the area.
According to Silva, the government was maintaining a group of underworld figurers after destroying all others who stand against them.
However, he said the government cannot shirk responsibility for the shooting incident and the loss of life.
Two people, 17 year old Nimantha Heshantha and 50 year old Edirimannage Malani were killed when an armed gang who had arrived on motorbikes had sprayed bullets at a JVP meeting in Katuwana at a round 7 p.m. on Friday evening.
Another person who had been shot during the incident is currently being treated at the Embilipitiya Hospital.
Seven motorbikes, two three wheelers and a mini DIMO lorry that were parked near the venue of the meeting at the time of the shoot out have also been damaged.
JVP parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that about eight people had arrived at the venue in four motorbikes and fired at the people with T-56 weapons.
He said the people in the area had identified the suspects who were responsible for the attack and also claimed that they were now being protected by members of the government. Meanwhile, Silva denied the statement made by certain sections in the government that the shooting incident was a result of an internal clash in the JVP.
He said the government was quick to make a statement about the persons responsible for the attack even before a police investigation had been conducted.
“Eye witnesses at the scene have given statements to the police with names and details of the persons who had carried out the attack and it is now up to the police to enforce the law,” Silva observed. The police said that investigations into the shooting incident are still ongoing.
Police Spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana said that four police teams have been assigned to investigate the incident and that statements have been recorded from 28 eye witnesses as of yesterday. Police, Special Task Force (STF) and Army personnel were also deployed yesterday (16) to search the area.
When inquired if the name of an underworld leader in the area had been revealed to the police by the eyewitnesses, SP Rohana admitted that a name of a notorious character in the area had been recorded by the police in eyewitness statements.
However, he said that the persons name cannot be categorically mentioned since there were several others who had been involved in the shooting incident.
“But, one name has been given in a statement,” SP Rohana said.
An article about the underworld leader who is allegedly involved in the attack had meanwhile appeared in a JVP affiliated weekly newspaper several weeks back. The JVP is to organize a protest campaign island wide against what it calls the undemocratic actions of the government and the first protest is to be held in Colombo on Tuesday (19).