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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Sri Lanka Lifts Curfew In Rambukkana; Troops Called In As Precautionary Measure

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COLOMBO, April 21 (PTI): The Sri Lankan government on Thursday deployed troops as a precautionary measure in the southwestern region of Rambukkana where one person was killed and 13 others were injured in violence after the police opened fire at unarmed anti-government protestors demonstrating against the latest fuel price hike.

Earlier, the authorities lifted the curfew at 5 AM (local time) on Thursday.

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At least three of the 14 hospitalised protesters at Rambukkana, some 90 kilometers northeast of Colombo, were critical at the Kegalle hospital, according to an official. Fifteen police personnel have also been injured.

Chaminda Lakshan, a 41-year-old man who died of gunshot wounds, is survived by two children.

“I want justice for my father’s death. I do not want money or any other help,” his 16-year-old daughter Piyumi Lakshani told reporters.

She said that her father was not a protester and had gone to buy petrol for his motorcycle.

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The death of the protester was the first during the ongoing protests over the worst-ever economic crisis in the country’s history.

Meanwhile, the government said that troops have been called in at the Rambukkana area in view of the funeral of the man. They will remain there until Saturday.

A special gazette dated April 21 was issued to call the troops to provide security in the area after the curfew was lifted.

Foreign Minister G L Peiris told reporters: “We have requested the Human Rights Commission to conduct an impartial inquiry. We want to be honest and we do not want to sweep anything under the carpet”.

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Top bureaucrat of the public security ministry Jagath Alwis said the protesters tried to set on fire a fuel tanker having 33,000 liters of fuel.

The police were forced to open fire to prevent a fuel bowser being set in flames by the protesters.

Alwis said a three-member probe committee has been appointed to probe if the police had used excessive power in opening the fire at protesters.

The embassies of the US, the EU, and the UN resident coordinator have issued statements condemning the police shooting.

The latest fuel price hike on Monday night triggered street protests in many areas on Tuesday.

Oil entities in the island nation have been hiking the price regularly due to the shortage of fuel.

Kegalle Magistrate Wasana Navaratne visited the site of the shooting and ordered the police not to intimidate witnesses. The police had produced one protester in court.

Last week, the Sri Lankan government said it would temporarily default on USD 35.5 billion in foreign debt as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine made it impossible to make payments to overseas creditors.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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