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Dambulla Mayor arrested for violating rules on public events

Police today arrested the Mayor of the ancient city of Dambulla and produced him before a Magistrate for organizing a public event violating the ban on such events imposed by the government to prevent the spread of the COVID19 virus.

This comes as the police enforce a tough crackdown on people who break the rules laid out in multiple directives issued by the government.

The Mayor, Jaliya Opatha, a supporter of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna was arrested for organising a bicycle race on Thursday. Another person was also taken into custody, a police spokesman Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana said in a press statement.

The races are part of the runup to celebrations of the annual harvest festival celebrated by most Sri Lankans as the “New Year” a festivity shared by compatriots in South India, South-East Asia and Indo-China.

Rohana said Municipalities were expected to be one of the many institutions that formed a network “given the responsibility of preventing the spread of these diseases and an integral part of the quarantine process.”

Therefore the police had no choice but to take tough action against these officials he said.

Rohana went on to say that police would also file legal action against a patient who did not disclose that he was a recent returnee from Italy when he sought treatment for a supposed heart ailment at the Ragama hospital.

Rohana said that the medical team that dealt with the patient as well as dozens of patients in the ward the patient was admitted to have been put in danger of contracting COVID19.

He said the authorities found out that he was a recent returnee when they questioned family members.“We will seek to prosecute all those who aided and abetted this patient and withheld the information that he had had been exposed to COVID19,” Rohana said.

The DIG emphasized that the curfew that has been declared is to “confine people to their homes and not to have parties with their neighbours.”

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The entire country is currently under curfew until 6 am, Monday.

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