HRC hears police statements on Nelliady attack on picketers

[TamilNet, Thursday, 02 January 2003, 19:58 GMT]
The Jaffna office of the Human Rights Commission in Sri Lanka Thursday recorded the statements of two senior police officers regarding the violence that took place on December 10 at Nelliady in the Vadamarachchi division when several hundred people picketed the office of the paramilitary group Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) demanding their withdrawal from Jaffna district, sources said.

The HRC inquiry is based on complaints that the police had used excessive force on that day by ordering firing on civilians who peacefully picketed outside the Nelliady office of the EPDP. About fifteen civilians and traders were injured when the Police fired at the peaceful protestors, according to the complaints.

Jaffna's Senior Superintendent of Police Mr. S.Premaratne said in his statement before the HRC Thursday that he ordered firing using rubber bullets as the situation in the area went out of control on the day of incident. According to Mr. Premaratne, "a departmental inquiry‰ is being held into the allegation that some police personnel had fired at peaceful civilian protestors without any reason.

The question of holding an identification parade to identify the errant police personnel will be decided when the matter is taken up for hearing at the next date before the Point Pedro Magistrate, according to Mr.Premaratne. The five injured civilians due to the attack in Nelliady were admitted to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital through the prison department, he said.

Jaffna Town Police Superintendent Mr. Hector Dharmasena also made a statement to the HRC Thursday.

The HRC in Jaffna has already recorded the statements of fifteen injured civilians and traders regarding the Nelliady violence. HRC's Jaffna regional coordinator, Mr.Ruwan Chandrasekara, said that he would submit a detailed report with the statements by the Police and injured civilians to the HRC head office. The head office would then take a final decision on this matter, he said.


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