Estate workers released on bail
[TamilNet, Saturday, 09 October 1999, 10:27 GMT]
Fourteen members of the Galaboda Estate workforce who had been remanded over an incident that occurred during the October 25,1998 strike were ordered to be released on bail by the Court of Appeal yesterday.
The Bench comprised Justice F.N.D. Jayasuriya and Justice P.H.Kulatilake.
The application for bail was supported by President's Counsel Eardly Perera and Attorney At Law K.Senathiraja of the Ceylon Workers Congress.
Selvaraj Saroja, Arunasalam Ramian Piyasena, Kandasamy Udayasurian, Murugesu Kadiravel, Anthony Muttu Lawrence, Arunansalam Mahalingum, Arumugam Ragu, Periyasami Devaraj, Somasundaram Stevenraja, Ashirwatham Venandarajam, Ramasamy Rajaratnam, Velayuthan Markanthan, Govindan Vartharaj and Sandanam Anthony Sami are the fourteen estate workers who were released on bail.
Court of Appeal ordered that each of the estate workers be released upon payment of bail of Rs. 10,000 and on a guarantee by a non-government employee.
Senior Counsel Eardly Perera submitted that owing to an industrial dispute, the labourers on Galaboda Estate went on strike and by October 25, 1998 the strike situation worsened and an unruly crowd threw stones at the house of the Superintendent and others. The Pasara Police being summoned, a Police Officer opened fire and injured a labourer Shanmugampillai causing a grievous injury.
In consequence the superintendent's bungalow was damaged and the police jeep was set on fire. On October 27,1998 twenty-seven suspects were arrested and produced before the Pasara Magistrate who remanded them. Thereafter, Badulla High Court released 13 Estate Workers on bail, but refused bail for the others.
Mr.Eardly Perera stated that the estate employees were charged with causing damage to Government property but the Court must consider the fact that the bungalow of the superintendent is not government property. The Galboda Estate is a private property belonging to a Company and did not come within the purview of the Act No 12 of 1982 namely "Offences Against Public Property".
Mr.Perera continued that by the time the suspects were arrested, the strike itself had been settled and called off. All was quiet on the estate, he concluded.