News first: Sri Lanka: Tuesday, February 07, 2017.
The mother of late Roshen Chanaka, who was killed during a demonstration in Katunayake in 2011, visited the Presidential Secretariat on February 06 seeking access under the Right to Information Act to the report of the Presidential Commission which investigated the death of her son.
Roshen Chanaka was killed on June 1, 2011 in Katunayake when police opened fire to disperse demonstrators who were protesting against steps taken by the government to introduce a pension scheme for the private sector. More than 600 people were injured in the incident.
While the incident sent shockwaves through society, the report of the Presidential Commission appointed to investigate the incident, chaired by Mahanama Thilakaratne, is yet to see the light of day.
A group including Roshen Chanaka’s mother visited the Presidential Secretariat on February 06 seeking access to this report, but they were not allowed to enter.
Subsequently, the police escorted them to another office in close proximity to the President’s House.
After submitting their request at the office, the group spoke to the media.
Rev. Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda said four years has been spent in seeking the report of the Mahanama Thilakaratne Commission, and asking that it be made public.
“We came here today but we did not meet an information officer, instead was referred to another official”, he added.
Furthermore, he noted that according to the RTI Act, they can make a written request for the information. However, they were not given a form and that the Secretary asked them to write the letter on a piece of paper and submit it to her.
“We should receive a response within 14 days so, we shall wait and see whether it happens”, he said.
On the other hand, Roshen Chanaka’s mother said that when they went to the Presidential Secretariat, they were told that they have done what they could and that they should submit a letter under the Right to Information Act.
“They said they have not received any of the forms yet”, he added, “I am here for the report on Roshen’s death and other children who were assaulted.”