Saturday, June 4, 2011

The silent protest today at the funeral of the FTZ garment worker

Roshen Shanaka (21) the first death from a Police Shooting at a FTZ, was buried today amidst large crowds. I was first at his home, (surrounded by army security)after his body had been hastily moved in the morning, before the time to leave his home at 3pm.

Apparently the Army visible in numbers (not a single policeman was anywhere to be seen)had decided to have the burial earlier to prevent a show of sympathy! However for whatever reason had changed their minds and the body was lying in the catholic church a short walk from the house. This actually made the viewing more orderly and more dignified, in the nature of lying in state.

The crowds of young people who were queueing past were in the thousands. Many of them dressed in black and white shirts and skirts for women and black trousers for men appeared to be garment and other factory workers from all over the country, who happened to be working in the vicinity as well as in the nearby FTZ. Many of their employers had given the day off for them to attend the funeral, and so they have to make up the day by working tomorrow, Sunday.

It appeared to me that they had absolute solidarity with their fellow brother, as they can all identify with him. They are mainly boarded and work hard in these factories under quite monotonous conditions, so they can save money for their marriages or support their families. To be gunned down in cold blood on the orders of the Rulers is something none of these silent protesters were willing to tolerate. Many of them walked a long distance from the nearest bus stop to pay their respects in the small village close to Galloluwa in Minuwangoda.

The govt had their secret police informing the murderers of every person who came inasmuch as it was a known person. I could not see video cameras, but I am sure that was there. The information they receive/see must give them goosebumps as no amount of crocodile tears is going to change the mindset of those who were there. I witnessed many young people in tears after passing through the casket. It was a dignified affair.

Politicians are famous for visiting funerals. I did not see any govt minister and we have 100 of them, maybe they came before me or after so I would like someone tell me the real status. Is this the first funeral where there were over 100,000 mourners sans a govt. minister? We have finally started a new trend.

God bless his soul and if there is anything that comes up out of this, it is that we the people will not tolerate injustice, enough is enough.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are some important questions o be asked:

1. What are the internal police regulations/guidelines dealing with demonstrations and crowds.

2. What are the regulations that deal with the use of firearms?

The British have a whole set of regulations and I'm sure we have inherited a lot of them. This will then raise some interesting questions as to who authorised what action.

In India in the old days, policemen were issued the .303 service rifle (the same weapon the army had) but with the magazine removed so that a trigger happy policemen could not fire more than one round at a time.

I am sure similar guidelines were followed here. It seems inconceivable that policemen used live ammunition without someone from above authorising it, we need to know do it and why.