Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa, called for forgiveness from the public over the attack on the people’s protest in Ratupaswala, Weliweriya demanding clean drinking water.
He expressed his whole-hearted regret of the loss of life and property in this incident. He reiterated it is unfortunate several media personnel had to face such grave inconveniences, while engaged in their legitimate functions.
He remarked the people do not condone such actions of the Security Forces and emphasized that he neither approves nor gets involved in any manner of disturbance as he strongly abhors them, and wished to dissociate him from such incidents.Making a special statement to our sister newspaper Mawbima, the minister said some elements who were involved in the protest wanted to create an embarrassing situation to take advantage.
He said, he himself was not involved in the incident in any way. Minister Rajapaksa reminded the people that he would close the factory without any hesitation, if it was found to have violated conditions of their agreement.
Residents of Ratupaswala allege chemical effluents from a rubber gloves manufacturing factory has seeped into the groundwater tablet spoiling the water. People affected by it protested converging on Colombo-Kandy Road blocking traffic. In the ensuing security operation for dispersal of the crowd, three persons died and over 40 others sustained injuries needing hospitalization.