Answering a question posed by journalists with regards to allegations that Chief Minister Maheepala Herath provided political patronage to atrocities that were committed in the area, Mithrapala acknowledged that they were true. “Yes, he gave Anil Champika contracts, money and the political cover that was needed to commit these crimes. They had a strong connection” he said.
Mithrapala further said that it was “this political patronage together with the police” that made it possible for an ‘era of terror’ to take place in the area.
At a news briefing held today at the ministry premises, the Deraniyagala SLFP organiser also accused the police top brass, including “Senior DIG’s, DIG’s, SP’s” who were in charge of Deraniyagala for siding with those who unleashed a reign of terror there. “I have called these police from time to time and complained to them, these included DIG’s SPs, SSP’s in charge of the area, but nothing was done about it,” he said. “I even the former Inspector General of Police of the predicament the villagers faced. “I even informed the former IGP about the situation but nothing changed,” he said.
When the media questioned him as to the names of the police top brass who were involved in the cover-up the Deputy Minister refused to commit himself. “There were many senior Police officers during this time. Some of them have been transferred, but all of them sided with Champika,” he said.
Mithrapala however, reiterated that he was instrumental in preventing the alleged warlord from getting nominations in 2011. “It was I who prevented him from being given nominations in 2011. I personally spoke to SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena and told him of my suspicions which was how he was prevented from being given nominations,” he said.
The Deputy Minister said that if not for the brutal murder of Estate Superintendent Nihal Perera, and the subsequent media exposure that followed, the reign of terror in the area would have continued. “Yes, what the media reported was true and this would have continued if it was someone else who had been murdered,” he said. He however said that he had no authority to take action against the “politician” who is alleged to have provided cover to ‘Athakota’.
When questioned as to the measures he would be taking against those responsible for the unleashing terror and providing political and police patronage to Champika alias Athakota, Mithrapala said that he was awaiting the results of the ongoing Police investigation. “There is nothing I can do at the moment, I have to wait for the Police report and hope that something comes out of it.”
Mithrapala further said that he would be meeting the President and the Defence Secretary in order to gain compensation for the victims of terror in the Noori area.
Agreeing with journalists, he said that the government should also be held responsible for the atrocities alleged to have taken place in the area. “ Yes it’s a shame that such things could happen in this country in this day and age,” (Daily Mirror)