Published on - 8/6/2005
Remains of the late Superintended of Police (SP) Mr. W. D CHARLES WIJEWARDENE, who was brutally hacked to death by LTTE incited mobs in PALAVODAI, JAFFNA after accidental discharge of a soldier's weapon killed a barber inside a public saloon, were flown to KURUNEGALA Hospital late night on Thursday (04) for post-mortem and subsequent funeral arrangements.
Accidental discharge of the T â€“ 56 weapon of a soldier, who went into a saloon for a hair-cut with another fellow soldier, caused death to the barber, JEYASEELAN SHANTHA ROOBAN (23) who was inside the saloon at INUVIL area. Those soldiers themselves with the help of others rushed the injured barber to the JAFFNA Hospital.
LTTE men swiftly jumped into action and hurriedly went on inciting and provoking mobs and others in the area projecting the accidental firing as a deliberate homicide attempt directed by the Army at the civilian.
As the storm of LTTE-instigated protests began to swell in the aftermath of the civilian's death, the Police intensified security with the help of anti-riot squads as some mobs ran into streets brandishing iron rods, knives, bottles, clubs, etc.
Immediate negotiations and clarifications given by the Police who were at the scene however pacified a large section of the public who gathered at the initial stage, but LTTE supporters and mobs continued to run riot and went on threatening and insulting those Policemen who stood by.
Those LTTE mobs also went on stoning vehicles of the Security Forces and the Police, blocked highways and demanded surrender of the soldiers in question to them.
In the meantime, a Police team led by Superintended of Police for JAFFNA Mr. CHARLES WIJEWARDENE who was rushing to the scene from his office in order to negotiate with mobs, commence investigations, defuse tension that was brewing, and also to seek any possible settlement of the issue, was made to stop on the way, about 500 m away from INUVIL junction by another LTTE mob requesting the SP to join them for a discussion.
SP WIJEWARDENE was however directed by the mob into a nearby house pretending that they were to settle the matter after a round of discussion with the Police. Believing in bona fides of those mobs, the Police officer WIJEWARDENE has walked into the house even without his security escort team.
However, those mobs after requesting him into the house had secretly moved the Police Officer away from the location to an undisclosed location while the Police team awaited his return.
Information provided by eye-witnesses and sections of civilians in the area finally confirmed that those LTTE men had nevertheless forcibly bundled the SP out of that house into a vehicle and driven him off towards SUTHUMALAI area where the SP's remains were later recovered with serious blunt instrument injuries caused to his skull and rear side of the head.
Police in cooperation with the Security Forces immediately imposed local curfew in JAFFNA in a bid to arrest further spread of violence and any breach of law and order situation in the area. However, the curfew was to be lifted by Friday (05) afternoon.
Soldiers in question who were arrested by the CHUNNAKAM Police were to be produced before the Magistrate after initial investigations are over. Similarly, a parallel investigation commenced by the Sri Lanka Military Police is in progress.
Meanwhile, Commander of the Army, Lieut. General SHANTHA KOTTEGODA directed the Army's Director General, General Staff Major Gen. N MALLAWARACHCHI and Colonel General Staff at Directorate of Operations Lt Colonel DS Weerasekara to fly to JAFFNA in order to investigate into the matter and assess developments.
SP Mr. CHARLES WIJEWARDENE, a father of three children from KURUNEGALA was 57 years of age at the time he was brutally murdered by those LTTE men while on duty. He was one of the most popular senior officers in the Police and an enthusiastic ruggerite in the Police team.
His remains after post-mortem are to be taken to his residence at KURUNEGALA on Lake road before the funeral with full Police honours takes place on Sunday (07) evening.