Sri Lanka slain fisherman laid to rest without security forces: report

Feb 19, 2012 (LBO) – A Sri Lankan fisherman slain by police in a protest against a sudden fuel price increase was laid to rest without the presence of the police and military but accompanied by thousands of fellow fishers, a media report said. The fisherman, Anthony Fernando, was killed by police fire in a protest against a sudden increase in kerosene and diesel prices as the country no longer has an automatic fuel pricing mechanism to prevent the build-up of economic pressures.

Sri Lanka’s abandoned a cost-base fuel price in early 2004 and rulers now arbitrarily raise prices, usually after economic pressures build up.

From mid 2011, borrowings from state banks to maintain deceptive energy prices put pressure on dollar peg resulting in a balance of payments crisis which cost a quarter of the island’s foreign reserves.

The rupee has since fallen from 110 rupees to 118-119 against the US dollar, pushing up the prices not only of imported energy but all other goods as well.

The Sunday Times newspaper quoted Pujitha Jayasundera, a senior deputy inspector general that the security forces had stayed away from the funeral on the advice of the Catholic Church and family members, who believed their presence would provoke violence.