2012 Welikada Prison shooting; failed promises

2012 Welikada Prison shooting; failed promises

Written by Lahiru Fernando

07 Jan, 2016 | 8:49 pm

Three years ago a shooting took place at the Welikada Prison which claimed the lives of  27 unarmed inmates. A promise was made to the public that those accountable will be brought before the law. Three years, One month and Twenty-Nine days later the promise is yet to be fulfilled.

The timeline of events are as follows:

09th November 2012

The Police Special Task Force (STF) launch a search operation at the Welikada prison. During the operation, a tense situation arose killing 27 inmates and seriously wounding a number of Officers. Deputy Inspector-General R.M.C. Ranawana, the Commanding Officer of the STF was also injured during the gunfight.

14th November 2012

A Three-member committee inclusive of a retired High Court Judge was appointed to study the incident through various avenues and compile a report on the incident.

24th September 2013

The report which was said to be formulated in three weeks was handed over to the subject minister 10 months and 05 weeks after the incident. The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, too, presented a report on the incident.

27th January 2015

An inmate who experienced the 2012 incident broke his silence on the 27th of January 2015 and provided important evidence to the authorities.

The inmate stated that the Security Forces stormed in to the prison bearing firearms disregarding the objections of the Prison Guards. He noted that an individual in civil attire entered along with an Anti-Vice Officer, selected persons off a list and shot them afterwards.

17th February 2015

A peoples collective staged a demonstrated opposite the Prison premises on the 17th of February 2015 citing that the law was not enacted with regard to the incident.

Following is what flared up on the Political stage regarding the incident.

12th November 2012

Gayantha Karunathilake, who was the Media Spokesperson for UNP during the year 2012 stated that the Government cannot simply appoint committees and escape the issue. He added that it is the Government’s responsibility to prevent any such acts from taking place in the future.

2nd August 2014

The now Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe stated that the investigation launched into the incident is not satisfiable and that a new panel needs to be appointed to conduct an independent investigation.

17th February 2015

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe announced that a committee was appointed three-weeks ago and stated that operations have been commenced

State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe makes a promise to conduct a 100% impartial and transparent investigation.

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