Protestors Attack BMW Belonging To Presidential Secretariat
- Damages Estimated Close To Rs. 3.7Mn
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Organizers of a protest demanding justice for a young girl killed during overseas employment a few months back have been accused of unlawful assembly and damaging public property after a BMW jeep belonging to the Presidential Secretariat had come under attack during the protest.
The Avissawella Magistrate has however observed that the aggrieved party (members of the vehicle convoy) has been responsible for creating a situation where the crowds have been instigated by them trying to drive through the protestors when the police had advised against it.
Eyewitnesses have said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second son Yoshitha Rajapaksa was traveling in the BMW jeep when it had come under attack by the angry crowds.
The protest had been organized in the Kosgama area in Avissawella on March 31 by UNP Avissawella organizer Upul Weerasinghe.
The protest was held on the main Colombo-Avissawella road near the Kadugoda junction bringing the body of the dead girl to the road.
The protest had resulted in the police cordoning the section of the main road for traffic.
However, a VIP vehicle convoy that had tried to pass through the protesting crowds had come under attack and the BMW jeep bearing number WPKG 1407 had been damaged during the melee.
Weerasinghe said that the BMW jeep had been damaged mostly when it had rammed on to a back up vehicle when the protestors had tried to attack it.
“The back windscreen was smashed when the vehicle crashed on to a back up vehicle,” he noted.
He explained that the Kosgama Police following a complaint by the Presidential Secretariat has filed a case before the Avissawella Magistrate’s Court. The case number B 9959/12 was last taken up on the 5th of this month.
The Kosgama Police has informed courts that the damages to the BMW jeep is estimated at Rs. 3,698,240.
The B report filed by the Kosgama Police on April 3rd this year state that the case was against the unlawful assembly, acting in a menacing manner and causing damage to public property.
The police have observed that since the BMW jeep belonged to the Presidential Secretariat, the protestors have committed an offence under Public Properties Act No 12 of 1982.
According to Weerasinghe, eyewitnesses have said that the protestors had turned violent after they had spotted Yoshitha Rajapaksa in the BMW jeep.
He pointed out that the protest was organized to demand justice for a 22-year-old girl who had died during overseas employment and the failure of the authorities to pay compensation to her family. Her body had been sent back to the country about a month after her death.