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Recent incidents of gang banging, the attack on the prison bus and the recovery of arms and ammunition from the Mount Lavinia Courts Complex has raised concerns over the security in the capital.

These incidents have sparked fresh allegations against the government’s failure to curb activities of underworld groups.

The main accused in the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court premises firearms case, Don Salu Shalu Roshan Indika de Silva alias Rosa surrendered to the Mount Lavinia Police on March 2. Police said that he had brought 20 persons to the Courthouse on March 1 without providing them with a proper reason why they should be there.

Police also said that he is being questioned by a special team over the incident of two fully loaded automatic weapons. Meanwhile, the 20 suspects arrested over the same incident were produced in Court on March 2 and remanded till March 13. According to the police, nine out of the 20 suspects had been in the Court at the time of the weapons being discovered while the rest had arrived at the scene subsequently. It is further reported that 16 out of the 20 are residents of Ratmalana.

Police found a Chinese made pistol with four bullets and a 3.8 millimetre revolver with ammunition concealed within a sack placed on the ground below a bench in the public area of the Court on March 1.

Following the initial investigations, police suspect that the firearms had been kept there to kill a notorious underworld leader, Demuni Herald Rohana de Silva alias Gonakoviley (Gonakovila is in Ratmalana) Roha alias Kudu Roha alias Rohana who too was produced in Court this week.

It is alleged that a person named Sudesh Wasantha alias ‘Lansiya’ had been previously murdered in front of the Mahara Magistrate’s Court by ‘Kudu Roha’ and subsequently one of Wasantha’s henchmen had smuggled in the weapons inside the court premises in a bid to kill Kudu Roha in revenge.

Ratmalana Roha is presently in remand pending completion of hearings in cases filed against him including the murder of 59-year-old police Sub-Inspector attached to the Kurunegala Police Station, Ratna Banda Dissanayake which took place in November last year. Indika de Silva, who is a friend of Lansiya’s brother, is reported to be a resident of Wetakeiya, Ratmalana.

Meanwhile, Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police Priyantha Jayakody stated that all Officers-in-Charge of Police Stations island-wide had been directed that protection and security provided to Courts by the Police should not be made to lapse.

The Ministry of Prison Reforms said that they would be looking into regularizing the procedure of obtaining the support of the Police with regard to the provision of security and protection to witnesses.

A Government-appointed committee is presently looking into aspects pertaining to the provision of protecting witnesses in State custody and is scheduled to submit a report regarding the matter in six weeks. The committee will be seeking the views of others with a view to arriving at a process in a scientifically accurate manner.

The report will form the basis of future policy reforms in this regard, the Ministry has outlined.

The Committee includes former Magistrate Rumi Mansoor, former Additional Secretary to the Minister of Defence S. Medawewa and former Deputy Inspector General of Police Gamini Navaratne.

The whole purpose of operating in the underworld is to remain low profile, so the commoners can afford to be blissfully oblivious. But incidents such as what took place at the Kalutara and Mount Lavinia courts create tension among the people while raising concerns among the security apparatus over the safety of prisoners.