Thirteen fundamental rights (FR) petitions filed by employees of the Katunayaka Free Trade Zone (KFTZ), for the alleged brutal assault by the Police, while they were conducting a peaceful demonstration against the Private Sector Pension (PSP) scheme, which was to be implemented by the Government of Sri Lanka, was taken up by the Supreme Court (SC) last week and listed for support on October 31.
The Officers-in-Charge (OICs) of Katunayaka and Seeduwa Police Stations, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Negombo Division, Katunayake BOI Director, Army Chief, Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasooriya and the Attorney General (AG) were among the respondents cited in all the cases.
Attorneys appearing for the petitioners informed Court that, despite the SC order on June 18, directing the Registrar of the SC to call for the relevant documents from the Negombo Base Hospital and the Ragama Teaching Hospital, pertaining to the injuries and the treatment given to the petitioners who were admitted there following the assault, they have yet to be submitted to the Registrar.
Petitioners stated that on May 30 they had assembled at Katunayaka for a peaceful demonstration against the PSP scheme to be implemented, when a contingent of about 500 hundred armed policemen arrived to disrupt the protest. They stated that, during a verbal confrontation with some members of the union and the policeman, suddenly the police went berserk and began to assault the employees with rifle butts, while they also fired tear gas into the crowd, resulting in severe injuries to several employees, requiring their admission to hospital for treatment. This sudden outburst of violence resulted in the death of Roshen Shanaka, a 24-year-old youth who had been employed just four months before.
Petitioners also stated that the police had entered factory premises and caused severe damage.
Petitioners also stated that, even now, some unidentified persons had visited union headquarters and intimidated and harassed some of the members.
Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake directed the Registrar of the Court to call for the relevant documents from the Negombo and Ragama Hospitals and asked for the dates of the petitioners’ admission and discharge.
Court listed for support all petitions on October 31.