"Officer test fired weapon at homes"

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 08 June 1999, 17:11 GMT]
At the conclusion of the inquest into the death of a 22- year old Tamil woman, Kandiah Vigneswary of Murakoddanchchenai, the additional magistrate, Batticaloa Mr.K.Thadchchanamoorthy returned a verdict of murder and ordered the Eravur Police to arrest the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) captain who allegedly test fired a machinegun from his camp on the day of incident.

The woman was killed on Sunday evening due to gunshot injuries. The firing came from the direction of the Murakoddanchchenai army camp, said residents.

The Additional Magistrate in his order states:

"I held the inquest into the death of the woman, on June 7. I visited the scene where the deceased sustained gunshots and the army camp from where the gunfire came.

"The evidence of Corporal Ratnayake reveals that Army captain Kelaart who was in charge of the camp on the day of incident(06.06.99) at about 6.15 p.m. tested a gun T-56-LMG by firing eight shots.

"Corporal Ratnayake also pointed out to me the place, direction of gunshots fired by Captain Kelaart. I observed small houses in that area shown by the corporal.

"Then I visited the Murakoddanchchenai army camp. At that time Lieutanant George was in charge of the camp.

"Lt. George handed over the gun T56-LMG involved in this incident to the Officer-in-charge of the Eravur Police.

"Captain Kelaart was not available in the camp at that time.

"The distance between the army camp and the place where the woman was injured would be approximately 250 to 300 yards. There are living in houses in the area.

"The gun used was T 56 LMG. which could cover a range of more than 500 meters of distance if fired. The person who fired the gun was an army captain.

"The 4th para of Section 294 of the Penal Code which described the murder, states as follows:

" - If the person committing that act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability cause death, or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injuries as aforesaid-

"Therefore, I return the verdict of murder by gunshot injuries. I instruct the O.I.C. Eravur Police to arrest Captain Kelaart and produce him before me. I further instruct the Eravur Police to seek advice from the Attorney- General and to conduct investigations into this incident."

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