Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hambanthota incident - UNP MP's attacked

Mobs threatened the group of UNP MPs that undertook an observation tour of Mattala international airport today (17), said MP, attorney Ajith P. Perera, a member of the group.

The group of MPs is to make submissions to parliament regarding the expenses for the Hambantota port and Mattala international airport.

MP Perera said they had to abandon the inspection when around 100 persons threatened his group at the airport.

Other members of the UNP group were Nalin Bandara, Eran Wickramaratne, Ajith Mannapperuma and R. Yogarajan.

According to our correspondents, mobs had manhandled the MPs and threw eggs at them near the administrative building of the port and also booed at and threatened the group as well as journalists present at Mattala.

Hambantota UPFA mayor Eraj Ravindra Fernando had been among those who had led the mobs, and armed with a pistol, he had ambushed the UNP MPs and the journalists.

Policemen deployed at the airport and the port had not mediated, said the correspondents.

 I never carried a pistol - Hambantota Mayor

While denying he was carrying a pistol in his hand during the incident in Hambantota today Hambantota Mayor Eraj Ravindra Fernando rejected claims that he was behind the attack in Magampura.

Mr. Fernando told Daily Mirror that he was sent by MP Namal Rajapaksa to look into the situation. “Mr. Rajapaksa had got to know of the earlier incident at the Mattala Airport and told me to go to the Magampura Port to try and avoid any commotion that might prop up there and I heeded this request,” he said.

He said a clash had begun between the UNP MPs and the angry staff and the villagers by the time he reached the port. “I had to intervene to allow the MPs to get into the bus and got hit by an egg in the process,” said Mr. Fernando.

According to Mr. Fernando, another crowd had approached the bus in which the UNP MPs were traveling and had attacked the passengers. “I then rushed in and dispersed the crowd,” he said.

“The allegation made by the UNP MPs is absurd; I even went and wished UNP MP Ajith Perera by offering my hand only to have him rudely push my hand away,” he said.

 It was only a toy pistol: Hambanthota Mayor

Hambantota Mayor Eraj Feranado today claimed it was a toy pistol that he carried when he rushed to the scene to protect the UNP MPs who were being attacked by some villagers and staff of the Hambantota Harbour.

“I went to the scene on receiving a call from UNP MP Nalin Jayamaha asking me to go there. It was I, who protected the UNP MPs from the angry crowd and helped them to leave unharmed,” Mr. Fernando claimed.

I never asked Eraj to go there - Namal Rajapaksha

Hambantota District parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa today denied claims by Hambantota Mayor Eraj Fernando that he had asked Mr. Fernando to intervene in the crisis situation that arose during the visit of a group of UNP MPs to Hambantota yesterday.

“I never asked Mr. Fernando to go and look into the situation that arose in Hamabantota and I didn’t know anything about it. I was in the middle of a training session with the rugby team in Trincomalee,” Mr. Rajapksa told Daily Mirror online.

Ready to resign - Hambanthota Mayor

Hambantota Mayor Eraj Fernando says that he is prepared to resign from his post anytime, if the President asks him to do so.

Speaking on yesterday's (April 17) incident where a group of UNP MPs were assaulted while on an inspection tour of the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, Fernando says that he had arrived at the scene to provide protection for the UNP MPs.

Noting that he had picked up a pistol from someone nearby, Fernando said it was a toy pistol taken with the intention of dispersing those who disturbed the MPs.

Despite his good intentions, he had ended up in trouble, the Hambantota Mayor added.
He further said that he was acting on the instructions of MP Namal Rajapaksa.

However, the manner in which Fernando had arrived at the scene with a pistol in hand was recorded in video footage of journalists.

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