The UNP said yesterday that the Weliweriya water crisis had once again proved that the country was being run by the President and Defence Secretary, while the government paid lip service to devolution.
When the residents of Rathupaswala in Weliweriya, demonstrated last week against contamination of ground water leading to skin diseases, the army was unleashed with brutal force, which resulted in three young persons, including two schoolboys, being killed and sixty persons injured, UNP MP Gayantha Karunathillake told a news conference in Colombo.
The UPFA-run local authorities comprised a bunch of puppets, unable to resolve problems pertaining to the people they claimed to represent, as seen by the violent incidents of last week. They are now awaiting a solution that would be dictated by the President and the Defence Secretary, he noted.
The Pradeshiya Sabhas, Municipalities and Provincial Councils were being maintained merely to provide UPFA members perks and privileges and not to serve the masses, the MP said adding that devolution had been confined to mere words, with the Rajapaksas interfering in all areas of governance.
He observed that over seven years back, the security forces sacrificed their lives to provide water to the people of Mawil-Aru. It was a ironic that last week the army had to turn on innocent villagers who were protesting against ground water being polluted, due to a factory emitting harmful substances.
The government, while continuing to use police and military force on the people of Gampaha, who had voted in large numbers for the ‘Betel Leaf’, had concocted the theory of a third force being behind the demonstrations, to cover up its failure to deliver on election pledges, Karunathillake pointed out.
He said that as usual a committee had been appointed to probe the Rathupaswala tragedy, but nothing would come out of it, if one were to go by the lack of action on numerous Inquiry Reports into the killing of protestors, including Roshen Chanaka at the Katunayake EPZ and Anthony from Chilaw against oil price hikes, the Welikada Prison tragedy and the death of over 60 fishermen at sea due to the authorities failing to issue timely warnings.
~ www.island.lk ~ by Zacki Jabbar