Mannar SLN Commander ordered to appear in Court
[TamilNet, Friday, 23 June 2006, 06:10 GMT]
"Within few minutes after the fire fight between the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was over in Mannar Sea on June 17th morning, four navy soldiers who returned from the shore in motorbikes lobbed grenades through the windows into the Church of Our Lady of Victory in Pesalai and fired at random on the church doors," said five witnesses giving evidence before the Mannar Additional Magistrate Mr.T.J.Pirapaharan Thursday. The Talaimannar Police led the evidence of the witnesses, legal sources said.
In the alleged SLN violence a seventy year-old woman was killed and forty others were injured among three thousand Pesalai residents who had sought refuge in the church following the LTTE-SLN fire fight in Mannar Sea.
About fifty persons who were present during the church violence were in the court. But the Talaimannar Police called only five persons to give evidence at the inquest proceedings, legal sources said.
The Additional Magistrate recorded the evidence of five witnesses from 11 a.m. till 1.15 p.m. Thursday. The Magistrate put off the further inquiry for July 07.
The Court further directed the Talaimannar Police to record the statement of Mannar Navy Commander as witnesses had implicated SLN soldiers in the attack on the church.
The Court also ordered the Police to produce documents on the details fo motorbikes and the names of navy sailors who used them from the SLN officer in charge of vehicles.
The Court also issued notice on the SLN commander in Mannar to appear in court on July 07, legal sources said.
Additional Magistrate directed the Registrar of the court to send copies of his directives issued to the Talaimannar Police and the SLN Mannar Commander to the Attorney General, Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy and Deputy Inspector General of Police in Wanni region, legal sources said.
The Additional Magistrate directed the Talaimannar Police to provide adequate security to witnesses who gave evidence at the inquest. The Court also directed the SLA Commander of Thallady army camp to provide necessary assistance to the Talaimannar Police to conduct further investigation into the incident, legal sources said.
The Judge commented after recording the evidence of the witnesses that civilians who sought refuge in the church for safety had been affected due to grenade attack and gunfire. Civilians would lose confidence on the court if it fails to take appropriate steps against persons involved in the attack, legal sources said.