06/14/2018, 18.38
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Mother of killed Catholic worker wants justice for all victims of police

by Melani Manel Perera

Roshen Chanaka was hit in 2011 during a protest in at Free Trade Zone. His family received almost US$ 19,000 in compensation. Inquiry found that those responsible should go to trail, but so far no has been indicted.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Mary Swarnakanthi, mother of Roshen Chanaka, a young Catholic worker murdered in 2011 by law enforcement wants justice for all victims of police in  Lanka.

"Other young people were permanently disabled, suffered wounds and injuries and lost their jobs due to police attacks,” said the mother of the young man, 21, who was hit during a protest by workers at the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Katunayaka. “No one has obtained justice. We will be satisfied only when it is granted."

On 30 May 2011, thousands of workers in the Free Trade Zone staged a protest against a new pension scheme, which eventually got out of hand.

As a result of clashes between protesters and police, Roshen Chanaka was killed whilst another 260 people were wounded and inured.

Following the incident, many workers lost their job because they had to spend too much time in the hospital. Only a few received financial help. Two of them, Dhammica and Lasantha, lost the use of their legs.

On 1 June, Ms Swarnakanthi, with the help of some activists, delivered a petition to the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRCS), calling for an independent inquiry, adequate compensation and penalties for those responsible.

"For the broken life of my son, my family received three million rupees (almost US$ 19,000] from the president, the Board of Investments and the Police Department. But this sum will not console our pain for the loss. His brothers and sisters miss him every day."

For years, she carried out a silent protest outside the main entrance to the FTZ where her son was killed.

Thanks to her efforts and the support of many friends and activists, the family was able to get the government of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to name retired Judge Mahanama Thilakaratne to investigate the incidents of 2011.

His report concluded that the victims must be compensated and the police must stand trial, “whatever their rank".

"So far though, no one has been brought before the law and the victims are still waiting for justice to be done".

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