60 arrested in Kataragama mayhem

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By 2018-01-22

By Leon Berenger

At least 60 persons including 13 women were arrested as police used tear gas to disperse unruly protesters who took to the streets following the fatal shooting of a motorcyclist in Kataragama on Saturday night.

A Senior Police Official said tear gas was used to disperse the protesters in a bid to protect public property and to maintain law and order in the area.

Earlier in the day, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundera had ordered a special team from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to probe the fatal shooting of a motorcyclist by a lone Traffic Policeman, a senior official said.

The Policeman involved in the shooting has also been arrested and Commandos from the elite Special Task Force (STF) have been deployed to maintain law and order in the area, Police Spokesman (SP) Ruwan Gunasekera said.

The Policeman was later produced before the Kataragama Magistrate and remanded until 30th January 2018. He added, the local Police along with the CID will also probe the mob attacks on public property such as Police vehicles and the local Police Station and that persons involved in the incidents will be apprehended soon.

The incident took place around 10.55 p.m. on Saturday when the motorcyclist is alleged to have refused to stop after he was flagged down by the Policeman at a location on the Wedihitikanda Road in Kataragama, SP Gunasekera added.

Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development, Sagala Ratnayake yesterday urged the public to remain calm and called on the police to cooperate with the locals to maintain the peace in the area.

Meanwhile the Ceylon Motorcyclist Association (CMA) while condemning the shooting urged the authorities to conduct random checks on the eyes and mental conditions of Policemen on the night beat since many of them are known to be intoxicated.

"This is the case in most countries and it should be carried out here as well," CMS President Shirantha Amarasinghe said in a statement released to the media yesterday.

He added that Police officials with poor vision and mental conditions should also be prevented from handling firearms.

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