The police curfew imposed within the Rambukkana police area has been lifted with effect from 5.00 a.m. today (April 21).
The curfew order was declared in Rambukkana police area on April 19 (Tuesday) after a protest demanding fuel to be supplied at old prices escalated fast.
Residents in the area had blocked all entry and exit roads into Rambukkana town, as well as the level crossing for more than 15 hours. This obstructed the vehicular movement and train operations on the Main Line.
As a tense situation ensued near the level crossing, the police had fired tear gas to disperse the protesters. Later, as the situation escalated, the police opened fire at them, killing one person.
It was confirmed that the victim was pronounced dead due to gunshot wounds.
At 24 others including 08 police officers had also sustained injuries in the tense situation. The wounded were rushed to the Kegalle Teaching Hospital. Several of them are reportedly in critical condition.
In a statement issued later, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) C.D. Wickramaratne defended the police shooting, explaining that the law enforcement officers had to resort to minimum force to prevent a group of individuals from attempting to set fire to a fuel bowser during the protest.
He stated that the measure was taken to prevent massive damages that may have been caused.
Many local and international entities including the United Nations, Amnesty International and the U.S. Embassy in Colombo meanwhile raised concerns over the matter and have called for a transparent investigation into the incident.
Against this backdrop, a special team of 20 police officers has been appointed under the IGP’s instructions to investigate the Rambukkana police shooting. The team is headed by SSP Wasantha Kandewatte, the SSP and division in charge of Seethawakapura-Awissawella police division.