Colombo, June 1: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a Commission of Inquiry to investigate and report on the incidents of arson, looting, and all types of damages to properties and loss of life in several parts of the country between March 31 and May 15.
The Commission of Inquiry is headed by Supreme Court Justice, President’s Counsel B.P. Aluvihare. Retired Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police S. M. Wickremasinghe and Additional Chief Assessor N.A.S. Wasantha Kumara are other members of the Commission.
The Additional Secretary to the President Mr. Buwaneka Herath has been appointed as the Secretary to the commission.
In the violence after the wanton attack on peaceful anti-government protesters on the morning of May 9, scores of buses were destroyed or burnt and about 78 houses and other properties of ministers and ruling party Members of Parliament were torched.
The police had questioned former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his son Namal Rajapaksa and some other leaders of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna who had allegedly instigated the initial violence. The area police officers were also questioned. A committee of ex-chiefs of the three forces was set up to inquire into the failure of the forces to stem the violence.
But it is only now, three weeks after the arson, vandalism and murder that followed the May 9 morning violence, is going to be probed. The gap is due to the fact that public sympathy was with the anti-government protesters and not with the politician victims of arson and vandalism. The government felt inhibited by the lack of sympathy.
Nevertheless, no government can let wanton arson, vandalism and murder go uninvestigated and the perpetrators punished, regardless of the biases of the public.