Night of the broken glass | Sunday Observer

Night of the broken glass

15 May, 2022

Nine killed, 135 homes and 40 vehicles torched:

Mobs take to the streets after Galle Face attack:

Government politicians, officials targeted:

After the attack on Galle Face protesters last Monday (9), mobs torched the properties of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) politicians, their relatives and associates. Several houses of ordinary citizens were also reduced to ashes in the riots. Over 135 houses and 40 vehicles were burnt within two nights of violent rioting on the streets.

Galle District SLPP member Chandima Weerakkody:

The mobs had attacked and set on fire the house of my parents, which is nearly 50 years old. This is the place where my 83-year-old mother is living. The neighbours on receiving the information that the mobs were heading towards this house had rescued my mother just 10 minutes before the attack. I have to restore this place as soon as possible anyhow as this the home where my mother is living.

The house burnt by the mobs was the place, which was open for the public around the clock and throughout the year. Even the former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had been to this place numerous times. I am the first one who told people that the country is going towards anarchy under the present leadership. I was with the people all the time.

I have been doing active politics for the past 23 years. I have never nodded my head for violence. That’s why there is not a single complaint against me by anyone during my political career. Not only the attack on my parents’ house, I also don’t accept the attack on the peaceful protesters.

We know very well who led the mobs to attack the protesters. They should be held responsible for this huge catastrophe. According to the information I received, those who attacked my house have also been identified. People who gathered to support me on that day had detained two persons who attacked this house. One of them is a resident of a nearby village and the other is a resident of Colombo. They had been led by a political activist who had earlier contested for the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

However, we detained them for about two and a half hours until the police were to arrive.

But not a single officer came even after two and a half hours. Then we took their mobile phones into our custody and released them, otherwise they would have been killed by my supporters. I am really sad when I see my mother’s face.

Kalutara District former Minister Vidura Wickremenayake:

I was at a meeting with the President in Colombo when this happened. I did not go to see my house after it was attacked and burnt by the mobs. This is the house where I was residing in. I don’t own any other houses.

Anyway, I don’t think about these incidents very much. Everything happens according to the fate as explained in Buddhism. I don’t chase behind cases of this nature. It seems that the attack has been carried out by several persons who are against me for not allowing them to engage in brewing moonshine, those who have forcibly occupied the shops belonging to the Municipal Council and also employees of liquor shops.

But, it is yet to be verified. The incidents of this nature are not a new experience to me. I have experienced similar things several decades before as well. I was not participating in active politics at that time. However, those things happened. Once my father was arrested and imprisoned. He has spent all of our properties for the sake of the public. I do not suffer due to these losses. We did not experience the political violence to this level in the recent past. This all started with the attack on the Galle Face peaceful protesters. We all have to agree that it is wrong.

SLPP Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) Member Attorney-at-Law Alex Nishantha Fernando:

I am an eye witness to the attack on my house by mobs. A group of persons came to my house earlier and threatened me and they left. Then they came to attack the house. When they left after threatening me, I sent my wife and children to a secured place for their safety and I hid in a place outside the house where I could not be noticed.

I have been a member of the Wennappuwa Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) for years now. Also, I am the President of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Lawyers’ Association of the Puttalam District. I am pretty sure that my house was attacked by a group with vested interests, due to a personal vendetta.

They had damaged the household items, windows, doors and electrical equipment. The rough estimate of the damage caused to my residence is nearly one million rupees. The damage to the house was minimised because the neighbours prevented the mobs from setting my house on fire.

Later, they had burnt some tyres in front of the house and left. This incident happened around 5.00 p.m. on the same day the Galle Face protesters were attacked. I have lodged a complaint with the Police. They have already collected evidence from the scene. Those came to attack my place were carrying some petrol cans as well. It seems this was an organised program to attack their rivals throughout the country. There were outsiders among the attackers.

Former Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella:

Those who are engaged in true struggles will never resort to destruction or violence.

“Those who are engaged in this type of violence and destruction have malicious intent and agendas in mind,” Rambukwella said.

He said that he cannot be shaken by the burning of his house. “As a person with over 30 years experience in politics, I cannot be shaken by burning my property”, Rambukwella said.

Rambukwella said that he was a businessman before venturing into politics and the house was built using the money earned from his businesses. He said that he has not used a single cent earned from politics to carry out even a refurbishment of the house.

He said he entered Parliament six times by securing more than 100,000 preferential votes and this type of violence cannot be condoned at any cost.

Former Media Minister Nalaka Godahewa:

What kind of change is expected by those involved in burning the houses of politicians? He said that his house was also burnt by mobs even though he was for a consensus Government.

Dr. Godahewa, who entered Parliament 18 months ago, became a Cabinet Minister a few days ago.

“The violent mobs burnt down my house. Some will be happy seeing this, some will be sad and some will not even care,’ he tweeted.

He said that he had worked as a professional for 28 years to earn a living for his family.

Former State Minister Prof. Gunapala Rathnasekera:

I will never engage in politics again after my house was reduced to ashes by unruly mobs.

Angry mobs had torched his house in Kurunegala. “I have not earned a single cent from politics,” Prof. Rathnasekera said.

Prof. Rathnasekera, who was a senior lecturer at the Sri Jayewardenapura University, was appointed as SLPP’s Paduwasnuwara Organiser.

He said that he earned a living by teaching thousands of students to enrich their lives with knowledge

He said that the house destroyed by the mob was built from the money he earned from teaching.

Batticaloa District Parliamentarian and former Minister Habiz Nazeer Ahamed:

His office, shop, garment factory and residence in Eravur town, Batticaloa, were destroyed and set on fire on Tuesday night.

Police arrived on the scene and used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

At the same time, at Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Batticaloa District Organiser P. Chandrakumar’s Office at Kaluwanchikudy and Iruthayapuram, Batticaloa were set on fire. The photographs of the President and the Prime Minister were brought out to the road and set on fire.

The lotus bud decor on the boundary wall were removed and damaged. The Police arrived at the scene and brought the situation under control.

Security Forces have been deployed to protect the residences of the Batticaloa District Parliamentarians and former State Ministers Sathasivam Viyalendran and Sivanesadurai Chandrakanthan in Batticaloa.

The Medamulana ancestral home of the Rajapaksa family in Beliatta had been set on fire by unruly mobs, hours after the attack on the peaceful protests opposite Temple Trees and the Presidential Secretariat

The memorial of D.A. Rajapaksa and Dandina Rajapaksa in Medamulana had also been destroyed by the mobs.

This memorial opened in 2014, was constructed at a cost of Rs 81.3 million. Although the initial estimate was Rs. 33.9 million, Rs. 81.3 million had been spent on this project.

MP Mahinda Rajapaksa’s house in Kurunegala was also set on fire by the protesters.

Mobs on that Monday night unleashed a series of attacks on the houses of the former Ministers, Members of Parliament and Government supporters including a number of heads of Local Government Institutions of the Galle District.

Former State Minister Mohan P. De Silva’s residence on Wakwella Road, Galle was also set on fire.

State Minister Geetha Kumarasinghe’s Haburugala, Bentota house was set ablaze along with her vehicle.

MP Sampath Athukorala’s house on Pelawatta Road in Pitigala was also damaged in an attack.

Houses of the Galle Mayor Priyantha Sahabandu, Chairman of the Bope Poddala P.S. Dilrook Abeykoon, Chairman of the Karandeniya Pradeshiya Sabha Gamini Amarawansa, Elpitiya Chairman Karunasena Ponnamperuma, Ambalangoda P.S. Chairman Pushpalal Kumarasinghe were also attacked and damaged. A hotel said to be owned by Ambalangoda Urban Council Chairman Aruna Pradeep had also has been set on fire. A cab of Elpitiya P.S. was also burnt.

In another incident of violence the Imaduwa P.S. Chairman succumbed to injuries sustained in an attack on him following admission to Karapitiya Teaching Hospital.

Habaraduwa Pradeshiya Sabha Deputy Chairman Bandupala Abeykoon’s Ahangama Maliyagoda Tourist Rest had been damaged in an attack. A shop in Bataganwila, Galle, owned by a brother of Galle Mayor Priyantha Sahabandu, was also attacked and damaged.

A mob also attacked the office of United National Party (UNP) Akmeemana Organiser and former MP Wijepala Hettiarachchi.

Imaduwa Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) Chairman A.V.Sarath Kumara died after being admitted to the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital, Galle following a clash near his house on Monday (9) night, Imaduwa Police said.

A group had come to attack the Chairman’s house that night and some of his confidantes had been staying at his house at that time.

The power supply had also been cut off at that time.

Subsequently, the Chairman’s house had been stoned and a clash had occurred between the two groups.

Thereafter, the Chairman had fallen ill and was rushed to the hospital where he had succumbed to his illness. However hospital sources disclosed that he had died of a heart attack. He was 69. Imaduwa Police are investigating.