Deputy Minister H.R.Mithrapala responding to allegations against him said it was Police inaction over the ‘reign of terror’ atNoori and Maliboda that led to the villagers suffering at the hands of former Deraniyagala PS Chairman Anil Champika alias Athakota.
“Each time there was an incident, I informed the Police but they didn’t take any action against Athakota. I even informed senior police officers but to-date they have failed to confiscate his pistol,” he said.
The deputy minister said that he had even gone public on the atrocities committed by Anil Champika and his brood of gangsters.
“I informed the district coordinating meeting attended by police officers about the crimes committed by this man but sadly no action was taken,” he said
The deputy minister whom villagers accused of providing political patronage to Anil Champika prior to the two of them falling out said he was instrumental in preventing the ‘warlord’ from obtainingSLFP nominations in 2011.
“I worked on the recommendations of the ‘BalaMandalaya’ in 2007 and he got the highest number of votes. Thereafter it was decided to appoint him as the Chairman. Athakota told me that if I had a choice in the decision I would have never appointed him and that is very true. In 2011 I flatly refused to give him nominations” he said.
The Deraniyagala SLFP organiser said he did not want to make any commentswhen asked about the political patronage alleged to have been provided by Chief Minister MaheepalaHerath to Athakota,.
“I don’t wish to comment,” he said.
Anil Champika and his cohorts are accused of carrying out a ‘reign of terror’, including mass scale atrocities such as torture, rape, arson, robbery and murder.
When asked about the deputy minister Mithrapala’s election campaigning with Athakota in Thissamaharama during the 2011 elections, he said that it was an SLFP decision. He had participated in the election campaign with all PradeshiyaSabha Chairmen.
“Yes I went to Tissamaharama with him but that was because he was the Chairman of the PradeshiyaSabha and it was under the instructions of the party,” he said.
The SLFP strongman also denied any involvement with KirihenaDammika another warlord in Maliboda, an hour’s drive from Noori.
“He did not give me any vehicles during my election campaign, he was aUNPer and I had not provided or taken any support from this man,” he said.
Mr.Mithrapala said if not for the exposure, it would have been impossible to campaign in these areas.
“I would have had to counter them with guns and bullets, which is not the way I do politics, if they were not arrested. I’m happy that they have all been under arrest and are under scrutiny,” he said.
When asked why the deputy minister had not taken any action against the blatant abuse of power by the ‘Athakota’ and his cohorts and the alleged Police inaction, Mr. Mithrapala said he did his utmost to inform relevant authorities.
“I did my best, what else could I do except keep urging the Police to take this man into custody. I did that each time I was informed about a crime or I heard about some atrocity,” he said and added thatreign of terror exposed so far was not confined to the two electorates in Deraniyagala but extendedto many other electorates around the country.(Hafeel Farisz)