A massive stock of 35,382 unlicensed firearms were `flattened` under two road rollers at the Independence Square, in the presence of the Minister for Public Security and Deputy Minister of Defence Ratansiri Wickramanayake and the IGP Chandra Fernando, yesterday morning (8).
These firearms, including revolvers, pistols, light machine guns, rifles, T56 automatic assault rifles, repeaters, shot guns and locally manufactured guns, seized from criminals and various others had to be destroyed but some of them were seen still unbroken even when the rollers ran over them and had to be run over more than once to be broken.
Minister Ratansiri Wickramanayake when asked whether any of the firearms had been seized during the spate of violence in 1988 - 89 replied in the affirmative. The IGP confirmed there was a stock of arms that came from that period.
The whole exercise took over three hours and IGP Chandra Fernando supervised a group of policemen who laid the firearms of various size and type side by side to be broken up so that these could not be reused.
Minister Wickramanayake said, `We need a country sans the gun culture and we need the cooperation of the public as we have to confiscate all unlicensed firearms to make this country safe for everyone. We have to build a society that eschews violence so that our children could grow up in a peaceful atmosphere.?