Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 16

This update released 18 January 2010.

North Western Province

Grenade Attack and Murder in Kurunegala

CMEV has learned that at approximately 7.30pm this evening, Mr. D.M. Suranga Indrajith (27), the diver of Minister of Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Mr. Jayaratna Herath, was killed during a grenade attack on the UPFA party office located in Vanduragala, in the vicinity of the home of Minister Herath. According to the Director of the Kurunegala Hospital Dr. N.D.S. Rajamanthri, Mr. Indrajith was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. She stated that she had seen a wound on the victim’s chest, but that she did not examine the body any further. Dr. Rajamanthri added that the postmortem should be concluded by 7.00am tomorrow morning. Kurunegala Consultant JMO Dr. H.M.K. Senanayake when contacted, told CMEV that the Magistrate’s inquiry into the death had not yet been conducted, and that he was presently awaiting the Magistrate’s report.

While initial reports stated that 4 other persons had suffered injuries during the attack, Minister Herath told CMEV that no one else was injured in the attack. IP Dharmadasa of the Elections Branch of the Kurunegala Police told CMEV that 2 other persons had sustained injuries in the attack, including Mr. Sampath Bandara Wijesinghe who suffered a concussion and was admitted to the Kurunegala Hospital. However, CMEV contacted the OPD, Emergency Ward, and Police Post of the Kurunegala Hospital regarding the admittance or treatment of Mr. Sampath Bandara Wijesinghe, or any other person in relation to this incident, and was told that no one by that name or anyone else was admitted nor treated at the hospital in relation to the attack.

Minister Herath, as well as his son North Western Provincial Councilor Mr. Piyumal Herath told CMEV that they suspect the JVP of being behind the incident. Mr. Piyumal Herath added that the attack had been carried out by an experienced person.

According to IP Dharmadasa, an investigation into the incident is currently underway.

Though CMEV attempted to get in touch with JVP Members of Parliament Mr. Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Mr. Bimal Rathnayake, they were not contactable at the time.

When contacted, the JVP Media Coordinator for the Kurunegala District Mr. Pradeep Shrimal told CMEV that the JVP did not have any connection to the incident, and that no loss of life was necessary. He added that even on a previous occasion when UPFA supporters attacked a JVP party office, they had merely chased away attackers and had not caused any harm to anyone.

All CMEV reports and communiqués and the CMEV Incidents Google Map can be accessed online at http://cmev.wordpress.com

CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition against Political Violence as an independent and nonpartisan organization to monitor the incidence of election related violence. Currently, CMEV is made up of CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.