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28th February 1999

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Police checking students after clashes between factions from
Police checking students after clashes between factions from Ananda, Thurstan and other schools during the past week. Pic by Ranjith Perera.
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Supreme court fines: ex-IGP cannot pass the buck

Police chief says department won't pay Rajaguru's penalty

By Frederica Jansz

Police Chief Lucky Kodituwakku has rejected a request by his predecessor W. B. Rajaguru that the police department pay the fine of Rs. 50,000 on his behalf in the Anura Bandaranaike Fundamental Rights case.

"Where the courts makes it a personal matter, then the Police Department is not liable," Mr. Kodituwakku told The Sunday Times. His remarks came in a lengthy exclusive interview he gave. (See page 6).

Last week, a three-judge Supreme Court bench comprising Justices R.N.M. Dheeraratne, S.W.B. Wadugodapitiya and Shirani Bandaranayake declared that then police chief Rajaguru, CID chief T. V. Sumanesekera and CID Deputy Director Bandula Wickremasinghe had violated the fundamental rights of Mr. Bandaranaike.

The court directed each of them to personally pay to Mr. Bandaranaike Rs. 40,000 as compensation and Rs. 10,000 as costs; and the state to pay him Rs. 200,000 as compensation. Mr. Bandaranaike got a total of Rs. 350,000.

Mr. Rajaguru in making the request to the new police chief had pointed out that in his time he had got the police department to pay a fine imposed in a previous fundamental rights case.

Police Headquarters has paid compensation to an OIC who filed a fundamental rights application against former IGP Rajaguru, despite the court having ordered that the payment be made personally, by Mr. Rajaguru.

OIC Rangabandara, of the Veerambugedera police station in the Kurunegala division, had gone to courts, when he received instructions from the then IGP for an immediate transfer to an operational area. It later transpired in courts that the transfer was initiated on a letter sent to Mr. Rajaguru, by the SLFP organiser of that area.

This resulted in a court order that, Mr. Rajaguru pay Rs. 15,000 as personal compensation to the inspector. It has now come to light through Mr. Rajaguru's own admission that this sum was paid out of police funds.

Mr. Bandaranaike's Rosmead Place residence was searched by the CID on the night of February 11th, 1997 without a search warrant. The incident took place hours after the killing in Ratnapura of PA parliamentarian Nalanda Ellawela .

The police intruded on Mr. Bandaranaike's residence looking for Susantha Punchinilame, who was wanted for the murder of Mr. Ellawela.

Motion against new Sec. Gen.

The UNP is to present a resolution in parliament, condemning the appointment of Dhammika Kitulgoda as the new secretary general.

Opposition leader Ranil Wickre-mesinghe told The Sunday Times that the CWC, the TULF and the PLOTE were supporting the motion.

He said the UNP considered Mr. Kitulgoda's appointment as a trampling of the rights of parliament as it was a breach of a tradition and was done without any consultation with the opposition. The UNP last Tuesday staged a protest leading to an abrupt adjournment of parliamentary sittings over the presence of Mr. Kitulgoda who it said was appointed over the head of the current Deputy Secretary General Priyani Wijesekera.

Lanka defies US Congress

By Our Diplomatic Correspondent

Sri Lanka has rejected a call for its envoy in Washington to appear before a congressional briefing to answer queries on current developments in the country.

The Congress is to discuss human rights in China, the Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka on Tuesday, March 2.

Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has directed Ambassador Warnasena Rasaputram not to take part in the meeting. This came after the Sri Lanka embassy in Washington brought the invitation to the attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Due to take part in the sessions were representatives of the State Department, Amnesty International, UN agencies and other non-governmental organisations, according to the embassy.

Mr. Kadirgamar has also written to US Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth, taking issue over the Sri Lankan ambassador being summoned for the briefing. Mr. Inderfurth who is in charge of South Asian affairs is learnt to have replied that it was not at all a requirement for the ambassador to attend the briefing and that the Government of Sri Lanka could send a prepared statement if it so wished.

Every year, the State Department produces reports on human rights practices for each country as required by the US Congress.

The report for 1999 was presented to the US Congress yesterday and was later officially released via the Internet.

Excerpts of the State Department Report on Human Rights Practices in Sri Lanka appear on - Govt. respects human rights but killings go on: report -

UNP wants monitoring body within 2 weeks

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti

The UNP parliamentary group decided on Friday to set a two week deadline for the government to activate the proposed monitoring committee to ensure a free and fair campaign for the April 1 elections, General Secretary Gamini Atukorale said yesterday.

The party would also watch carefully what action the President would take against those who attacked JVP members on Thursday and Friday to assess whether she was truly committed to the creation of a new political culture through the all-party monitoring committee initiative, he said.

Mr. Atukorale said JVP general secretary Tilvin Silva had also written to President Kumaratunga charging that during and after the all-party talks, his partymen had been attacked, and she could prove her bona fides by taking action against the perpetrators.

"But we are willing to give it a chance because democracy is all about giving each other chances to change. The two-week deadline was decided upon because things cannot be postponed forever. If nothing happens, we will pull out," Mr. Atukorale said.

UNP Chairman Karu Jayasuriya said the party had not yet nominated representatives to serve on the monitoring committee

He said this and the agenda of the committee would be discussed at a meeting of the party's working committee.

Meanwhile, the JVP spokesman Wimal Weerawansa, chief ministerial candidate for the Western Province, said they were watching the situation, but if nothing tangible came out of the monitoring committee shortly, they also would pull out.

SLMC General Secretary Rauf Hakeem was critical of the deadlines and threats made by the UNP and the JVP. He said that instead of making impractical suggestions or threats, all parties should patiently sit together and work out what was best for the country.

PA General Secretary D.M. Jayaratne described the all-party talks as a 'glorious moment' in Sri Lanka's history. He called on all parties to seize this opportunity for a new political culture.

Clashing schoolboys face tough punishment

By Nilika de Silva

Tough action is to be taken against Ananda and Thurstan College students who were allegedly involved in school bus clashes over which several were taken into police custody, Education Ministry Secretary Andrew Silva said.

He said Minister Richard Pathirana had held an emergency meeting with the principals of the two schools and ordered drastic action to curb the violent trends in schools.

The clash began in a Piliyandala bound school bus which transports students from several schools and later escalated into a full scale battle with cycle chains also being used.

Clashes also took place from Wednesday till Friday with boys of other schools getting involved, police said. Thurstan's deputy principal R. M. Jayasekera said they had called in the Kohuwala police and officers in civvies were posted in the areas to prevent any more incidents.

He said the dispute had worsened because boys who had left schools and were attending tution classes also appeared to have got involved.

One of the injured students, Aruna Ariyaratne of Thurstan said he had been on his way to participate in a sports meet at Moratuwa when he was attacked. He suffered head injuries which required 11 stitches.

At Ananda College feelings were running high, with some seniors saying they were angry over the attack on their boys.

Kohuwela Police Inspector I. T. Kaviratne told The Sunday Times they had detained six boys from Ananda for questioning.

he said a motorcycle chain had been found on one of them. Later the police summoned their parents and handed over the students.

The Mirihana police too questioned some students over the incident.

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