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Lanka seeks judicial probe into Madurai shoot

Sri Lanka has asked India to conduct a judicial probe into the killing of Sri Lankan fishermens' trade union leader, reports PK Balachandran.

world Updated: Oct 10, 2007 16:49 IST
PK Balachandran

Sri Lanka has asked India to conduct a judicial probe into the killing of Sri Lankan fishermens' trade union leader Canicius Fernando by a Tamil Nadu police constable at the Madurai prison last week.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told parliament on Tuesday, that Sri Lanka has asked India to conduct an "independent and impartial" judicial inquiry and allow a representative of the Sri Lankan government to participate in the probe.

Bogollagama said that government had instructed a law firm to assist the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai in the matter.

The Tamil Nadu government is conducting a magisterial inquiry into the incident in which prison guard Devaraj shot dead Fernando at the Madurai prison gate, when the latter was allegedly found in a prohibited area and did not obey orders. Devaraj had been suspended following the incident.

Sri Lankans, however, believe that there was more to the killing than shooting in panic by an irate cop. For them it is cold blooded murder.

As a fishermens' trade union leader, Fernando had visited the place before too, and must have been familiar with the rules, they say.

On the ill-fated day, Fernando had gone to the prison to receive four Sri Lankan fishermen who were to be released. He had the necessary authorization letters from the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission as well as the prison authorities, officials said.