Aug 30, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Army Commander Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake has ordered to relieve four senior officers of the Sri Lanka Army from their duties with immediate effect over their involvement in the August 1st shooting incident in Weliweriya, a media release issued by the Military Spokesman on Friday (30) morning said.
They are the Brigadier who was in charge of the area and three Lieutenant Colonels who were his subordinate sector commanders. They will be attached to respective Regimental Centers until further notice, the Army Spokesman said.
The Army Commander appointed a five-member Court of Inquiry (CoI) headed by Major General Jagath Dias to investigate the army's involvement in the Weliweriya incident where the army, called in to control a protest, fired on the unarmed civilians staging a protest to demand the government to provide them with clean water.
The firing of live bullets into the unarmed crowd resulted in three deaths, two of them teenage students, and injured scores of people including several journalists.
The Court of Inquiry handed over its report on the incident to the Army Commander on August 21st.
The Army said the Director Legal, who is the Chief Prosecutor of the Army, will examine the report of the Court of Inquiry further and order a Summary of Evidence against any person who has violated the Military Law as a preliminary step of prosecuting such person through a Court Martial.
The Commander of the Army has also said that the Army's assistance to the Police at Weliweriya has been given only after Police made a clear request and it is well within the legal framework and is also in line with the provisions of the Public Security Ordnance.
The Army Chief has also ordered all concerned to extend maximum possible cooperation to carry out ongoing investigations by the Crime Detection Bureau as well as by the Magistrate Court of Gampaha.
He has further directed to take action against military personnel according to the Army Act after the final outcome of the ongoing judicial process, the release said.
A board of senior officers has been appointed to study the findings of the Court of Inquiry as well as other relevant reports/details and make recommendations as to how similar situations, particularly with regards to Army's involvement, could be averted in the future, the Release further added.