NPP blames President Ranil Wickremesinghe for death of protestor

February 28, 2023

The National People’s Power (NPP) led by the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has laid the blame for the killing of one party supporter during the agitation on Sunday squarely on the shoulders of President Ranil Wickremesinghe. Holding a press conference yesterday at the party office, NPP leaders accused the President of cracking down on a peaceful and democratic protest leading to the death of the protestor. General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva accused the President of attempting to preserve his hold on power by unleashing a dictatorial frenzy on the people. “The protest we held yesterday calling for polls was peaceful. Ranil Wickremesinghe and the gang obtained three court orders against it. Then the most brutal attack was unleashed on it leading to 28 people being injured and hospitalised. Two suffered serious injuries and now one has died,” he said.

The victim is 61-year-old Nimal Amarasiri, a candidate of the NPP for the Nivithigala Pradeshiya Sabha. According to party sources, he died yesterday while receiving treatment in the ICU of the National Hospital in Colombo. Amarasiri had suffered injuries after being hit by a tear gas canister in his face. 27 others were also admitted to the hospital with injuries. One protestor remains in critical condition. “The responsibility for this loss of life must be accepted by the Government led by Ranil Wickremesinghe,” Silva said.

Silva said the party will resort to all democratically available solutions to face off against the President’s dictatorial moves. “No one should lose their life for democracy. Comrade Nimal Amarasiri joined the protest to fight for the rights of the people. We will continue this fight till we reach the end goal,” Silva added. He said the people came onto the street to voice their dissent against the attempts to violate their right to franchise. Silva invited the people to join the party to defeat the undemocratic actions of the President.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has launched an inquiry into the death of the protestor. The Commission has informed IGP C.D Wickramaratne to hand over a report on the incident within 24 hours. The Commission has said it will initiate the inquiry based on the facts presented by the police in the report. It has also said it has come to their notice that the police had used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds on Union place in the Slave Island police division when there was no court order preventing the holding of a protest in the area.