By Sheain Fernandopulle
Referring to a video circulating on social media which shows a commotion at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) with several returnees from Italy, Vice Chairman of Airport and Aviation Services Rajeewasiri Sooriyaarachchi categorically rejected the claims that it was a forcible detention.
Speaking to Daily Mirror, he said several returnees with children, had to be temporarily detained inside a room at the Airport hotel and it was purely done on safety grounds.
“It was not something forcible. We have to abide by the instructions underlined by the Health Ministry, the Vice Chairman said. “There are some returnees from Coronavirus infected countries, who are not willing and reluctant to go to quarantine centres. The group of people in the video, is also of that sort, the Vice Chairman added.
He said some factions were attempting to make the incident exaggerated by claiming that BIA authorities were trying to harass them.
“It was nothing of that sort,” he added. A group of people wearing masks were seemed to have panicked and shouting in Sinhalese in the video where it was heard “Open the door. We can’t breathe in here. Are you all trying to kill us? Why are you treating us cheaply like this? There are children who might get affected”.
And then it was seen that the group of people were let out of the room and were asked to go to the Immigration office.