Angry residents attack MP's house after ferry tradegy in SL

by IANS |

Colombo, Nov 24 (IANS) Angry residents in the Eastern city of Kinniya in Trincomalee attacked the house of area parliamentarian causing heavy damages and protested blocking public road after ferry carrying mostly school children capsized, killing six people including four children.

The residents in Kuringankerni village attacked the house of MP M.S. Thowfeek who had been at the opening ceremony held in April to reconstruct the bridge across the lagoon in Kinniya where ferry capsized on Tuesday morning. Though opening ceremony was held in April no construction had been started.

Among the dead were four children who were going to school and those dead also included a mother and her two daughters aged six and three years in the same family and two sisters aged 6 and 8.

In addition 20 including 12 children who were in the capsized ferry were rushed to the Kinniya hospital and they were undergoing treatment there.

People also protested in public roads burning tyres and blocking access and complained that politicians should take the responsibilities for the lost lives.

Built in 1976, the bridge connecting Kuringankerni and the closest city Kinniya was broken six years ago but since then the bridge had not being rebuilt and people had been using a make-shift ferry to cross the lagoon. In April an opening ceremony to build the bridge had been held but work had not started.

On Wednesday at the parliament, an opposition MP Rauf Hakeem complained that the ferry without any standard had been used without any permission. "This tragedy has taken place as a ferry that has no safety was allowed to be run by the relevant authority."

Meanwhile Highway Minister Johnston Fernando said in Parliament that he has directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to start an investigation and take legal action against those who ran the ferry service and charge them for murder. He also said those ran the ferry service had fled the area.

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