By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Attorney General yesterday (19) informed the Supreme Court that the police officers involved in the impugned assault on the Katunayake Free Trade Zone are transferred and that legal action would be taken against those if found guilty in the investigation.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice Shirani A. Bandaranayake, Justices K. Sripavan and P.A Ratnayake fixed the matter to support on 5 March.
The Court earlier directed the Registrar of the Court to call for the Medico Legal Reports, treatment sheets, bed tickets and any other documents or report pertaining to the Petitioners.
A number of workers of the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ) have filed 13 fundamental rights petitions through Attorney-at-Law Gowry Shangary Thavarasha against the impugned police assault on the peaceful demonstrators within the FTZ on 30 May.
In their Petitions filed through their instructing Attorney-at-Law Gowry Shangary Thavarasha.
They cited Police OICs of Katunayake and Seeduwa as well as Negombo DIG, former IGP Mahinda Balasooriya, Board of Investment, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasooriya and the Attorney General as Respondents.
Some of the Petitioners have taken part in the protest while other did not. Some of them have been detained too. But all have been injured and admitted to the hospitals.
In their petitions, they state that Katunayake FTZ is situated in the Gampaha district consisting of 190 hectares of land where there are about 50,000 workers and 84 factories.
They state that on May 30 of 2011, about 600 persons gathered there protesting the “Employees’ Pension Benefits Fund Bill” within the FTZ where there are hundreds of police officers were present in the area.
They allege that around 12.03p.m., the police officers present, suddenly without any warning used tear gas on the unarmed peaceful protest in an attempt to quell it.
They also allege that hundreds of police officers armed with firearms and iron poles charged the FTZ workers and some police officers allegedly threw stones and other unidentified objects at them who were attempting to flee. They allege they were critically injured and warded at several hospitals.
They complain the conduct of the police officers are violative of the legitimate expression of their dissent depriving their right to freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly as well as there rights to freedom from torture and arbitrary arrest.
J.C Weliamuna, M.A Sumanthiran, Uditha Egalahewa, Saliya Peiris, Viran Corea, Eraj de Silva, Pulasthi Amarasinghe, Shantha Jayawardane and A. Ankatell appeared for the Petitioners. Senior State Counsel Lakmali Karunanayake appeared for the Attorney General.