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Monday September 20th, 2021
Health

Moratuwa vaccine hijack attempt: Sri Lanka police arrest mayor

Moratuwa Mayor Samanlal Fernando – Image credit: Facebook

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka police have arrested Moratuwa Mayor Samanlal Fernando who video footage showed obstructing officials on duty at a vaccination centre in his jurisdiction May 27 morning.

Fernando surrendered at the Mount Lavinia police station next morning following a public outcry on social media and was subsequently arrested for obstructing the duties of the Moratuwa Medical Officer of Health (MOH) and other officials, police spokesman Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ajith Rohana said in a statement.

Video footage aired on the privately owned Hiru TV showed the mayor demanding the officials to administer the COVID-19 jab to people to whom he had given tokens.

The smartphone footage showed the Moratuwa MOH engaged in a heated argument with Fernando, objecting to his demeanour. Police officers on duty at the Moratumulla vaccination centre eventually intervened and vaccination continued as planned, in defiance of the mayor’s protests.

In a press conference held yesterday, Fernando said that he had issued tokens to 1,200 people in two Grama Niladhari divisions in his constituency in order to avoid the creation of long queues that he said would violate Sri Lanka’s ongoing quarantine regulations.

Fernando is a member of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). (Colombo/May28/2021)

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