tells what happened
Kithsiri de Mel a photographer of the Daily Mirror, the sister paper
of The Sunday Times, sustained injuries during the brawl that took
place at the funeral ceremony of Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera last
a photographer attached to The Sunday Times, who managed to rescue
Kithsiri describing the incident said: “I had gone to cover
the event, and proceeded from Maharagama to Independence Square
where the cremation was to take place.
after the pyre was lit around 7:00 pm a commotion broke out among
the crowd some distance away from the pyre and closer to the Sports
Buddhist monk who was holding a suspicious looking person by the
neck was questioning him about some leaflets slandering Ven. Elle
Gunawansa Thero, this person was allegedly distributing. “A
policeman in the vicinity had arrived at the scene and started to
argue with the monk provoking the angry crowd to beat the policeman.
had run away and the people then began beating the suspect. Kithsiri
had taken some photographs of the whole incident. The crowd noticing
him taking pictures had then seized him and started beating him
while moving towards Torrington.
They had continued
to beat him there, grabbed his camera and threw it away.
“I moved closer to where the commotion was taking place for
a better look and then noticed one of my colleagues being beaten.
them to release Kithsiri showing them my Press ID and the organizing
committee identity token. Thankfully the mob then released Kithsiri.
“Meanwhile the police had taken the suspect into custody and
had put him into the police bus. The people then started to beat
the bus. Then another police unit stationed at the Sports Ministry
had arrived at the vicinity and fired tear gas canisters towards
the gathering near the pyre which was a short distance away from
the spot where the incident took place.”
the police fired around 25 to 30 canisters of tear gas and had even
fired towards the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. DIG Sirisena Herath
who had arrived at the place said that disciplinary action would
be taken against the police personnel who had fired the tear gas.
camera which Kithsiri had in his possession was valued at about
Rs. 75,000. The photographer had been informed yesterday that the
camera which was badly damaged was handed to Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka