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NewsSRI LANKA: Widow of three children denied justice to protect a Superintendent of Police by the Headquarters Police Station of Kandy

SRI LANKA: Widow of three children denied justice to protect a Superintendent of Police by the Headquarters Police Station of Kandy

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Ms. Q. Mahendra Devi (42) is a widow and the mother of three children. She resides at No: 100/36, Dharmaraja Road, Kandy and works as a cleaning labour working for a private company. After the death of her husband she built a house in above mentioned address.
June 24, 2011
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION-URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-119-2011

24 June 2011
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SRI LANKA: Widow of three children denied justice to protect a Superintendent of Police by the Headquarters Police Station of Kandy

ISSUES: denial of justice; impunity; rule of law
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Dear friends,

Ms. Q. Mahendra Devi (42) is a widow and the mother of three children. She resides at No: 100/36, Dharmaraja Road, Kandy and works as a cleaning labour working for a private company. After the death of her husband she built a house in above mentioned address. Several years later a senior police officer of the region build a massive boundary wall along one side to her property. On 23 December 2010 the wall collapsed and damaged Ms. Devi’s house and the entrance to her land. She and her family had to take refuge at a house nearby for several months. Despite having made a complaint to the Headquarters Police Station, Kandy, the matter has not been investigated. The senior police officer who constructed the wall has ignored Ms. Devi’s claims and the other police officers have taken no action on her complaint thereby denying her justice.

CASE NARRATIVE: According to the information received by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Ms. Q. Mahendra Devi (42) of No: 100/36, Dharmaraja Road, Kandy is a widow and mother of three children, two daughters and a son. Her husband was attached to the Municipal Council of Kandy as a cleaning labourer and died in April 2000 under tragic circumstances.

Later she built a small house at the aforementioned address in which to live with her children. She was employed as a cleaner in a private company and trying to look after the children. The small house was built on a land given by Ms. Devi’s grand-mother.

Around five years ago a massive boundary wall was constructed by the neighbouring land owner along the boundary of Ms. Devi’s land. Later she learned that the owner of that land was a Superintendent of Police of the range. She further observed that many officials of the police department were assisting in work of the boundary wall.

She observed that the construction of the boundary wall was not done following the standard regulations and that it was not supervised by the professionals. But at the time of construction due to ignorance of the details of the owner and later, due to the fear of the acting against the senior police officers, she was reluctant to oppose the construction.

On the 23 December 2010 due to the windy weather and heavy rain in Kandy, the newly build wall collapsed on to the house of Ms Devi destroying it completely. All the furniture inside the house was destroyed and the entrance to property was completely blocked. Ms Devi and her children since then lived in a neighboring house. However they have now been asked to leave that house.

On the 24 December 2010 the SP visited the scene and promised to clear the wall and pay damages but until now he has not returned nor done anything to assist the family.

Ms. Devi made a complaint to the Headquarters Police Station Kandy on the damage caused by the unlawful constructions and calming the legal redress for the damage caused by her neighbour. But no action has been taken.

Later a few police officers visited her house compound and took notes of all the details from Ms. Devi. But Ms. Davi learned that when the officers questioned her their intention was to find out the ownership of the property not to assess the damage. She further observed that the officers are tactically trying to deny her claims of damage by challenging the ownership of the property.

Three months later, in March 2011, 2 boys who had bee in police custody came and tried to clean her house compound but they could not do much to remove all the ruins of the broken wall.

Ms. Davi states that though she made a complained to the police the officers have taken no steps to provide justice to her. She states that the police officers at the Headquarters Police Station of Kandy are reluctant to take action against their own senior officers. So she believed that legal redress is being denied by these officers.

She urges the relevant authorities of the state to fulfill the legal obligations and provide a remedy so that she can enjoy her fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the country.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: The Asian Human Rights Commission has reported innumerable cases of malpractices by the Sri Lankan police which are illegal under international and local law which have taken place at different Police Station in the country over the past few years.

The National Police Commission (NPC) is vested with powers to supervise the discipline of the police officers of the department. The Attorney General of Sri Lanka is suppose to file indictments in the case where credible evidence were found on serious crimes and in other cases advice the police to investigate and file cases in respective courts.

SUGGESTED ACTION: Please send a letter to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case and requesting an immediate investigation into the allegations of deny justice by the police perpetrators, and the prosecution of those proven to be responsible under the criminal law of the country for misusing powers of a state. The officers involved must also be subjected to internal investigations for the breach of the department orders as issued by the police department. Further, please also request the NPC and the IGP to have a special investigation into the malpractices of the police officers for abusing the state officers’ powers.
To support this appeal please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:
Dear ________,

SRI LANKA: Widow of three children denied justice to protect a Superintendent of Police by the Headquarters Police Station of Kandy
Name of the victim: Ms. Queen Mahendra Devi (42) of No: 100/36, Dharmaraja Road, Kandy
Alleged perpetrator: Police officers attached to the Headquarters Police Station Kandy
Date of incident: 23 December 2010
Place of incident: Headquarters Police Station Kandy

I am writing to express my serious concern over the case of Ms. Q. Mahendra Devi (42) of No: 100/36, Dharmaraja Road, Kandy. Ms. Devi is a widow and mother of three children, two daughters and a son. Her husband was attached to the Municipal Council of Kandy as a cleaning labourer and died in April 2000 under tragic circumstances.

Later she built a small house at the aforementioned address in which to live with her children. She was employed as a cleaner in a private company and trying to look after the children. The small house was built on a land given by Ms. Devi’s grand-mother.

Around five years ago a massive boundary wall was constructed by the neighbouring land owner along the boundary of Ms. Devi’s land. Later she learned that the owner of that land was a Superintendent of Police of the range. She further observed that many officials of the police department were assisting in work of the boundary wall.

She observed that the construction of the boundary wall was not done following the standard regulations and that it was not supervised by the professionals. But at the time of construction due to ignorance of the details of the owner and later, due to the fear of the acting against the senior police officers, she was reluctant to oppose the construction.

On the 23 December 2010 due to the windy weather and heavy rain in Kandy, the newly build wall collapsed on to the house of Ms Devi destroying it completely. All the furniture inside the house was destroyed and the entrance to property was completely blocked. Ms Devi and her children since then lived in a neighboring house. However they have now been asked to leave that house.

On the 24 December 2010 the SP visited the scene and promised to clear the wall and pay damages but until now he has not returned nor done anything to assist the family.

Ms. Devi made a complaint to the Headquarters Police Station Kandy on the damage caused by the unlawful constructions and calming the legal redress for the damage caused by her neighbour. But no action has been taken.

Later a few police officers visited her house compound and took notes of all the details from Ms. Devi. But Ms. Devi learned that when the officers questioned her their intention was to find out the ownership of the property not to assess the damage. She further observed that the officers are tactically trying to deny her claims of damage by challenging the ownership of the property.

Three months later, in March 2011, 2 boys who had bee in police custody came and tried to clean her house compound but they could not do much to remove all the ruins of the broken wall.

Ms. Devi states that though she made a complained to the police the officers have taken no steps to provide justice to her. She states that the police officers at the Headquarters Police Station of Kandy are reluctant to take action against their own senior officers. So she believed that legal redress is being denied by these officers.

She urges the relevant authorities of the state to fulfill the legal obligations and provide a remedy so that she can enjoy her fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the country.

I request your urgent intervention to ensure that the authorities listed below instigate an immediate investigation into the allegations of deny justice by the police perpetrators, and the prosecution of those proven to be responsible under the criminal law of the country for misusing powers of state officers. The officers involved must also be subjected to internal investigations for the breach of the department orders as issued by the police department.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. N K Illangakoon
Acting Inspector General of Police
New Secretariat
Colombo 1
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 11 2 440440 / 327877
E-mail: igp@police.lk

2. Mr. Mohan Peiris
Attorney General
Attorney General’s Department
Colombo 12
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 11 2 436421
E-mail: ag@attorneygeneral.gov.lk

3. Secretary
National Police Commission
3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers
109 Galle Road
Colombo 03
SRI LANKA
Tel: +94 11 2 395310
Fax: +94 11 2 395867
E-mail: npcgen@sltnet.lk or polcom@sltnet.lk

4. Secretary
Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission
No. 108 Barnes Place
Colombo 07
SRI LANKA
Tel: +9411 2694925, +9411 2685980, +9411 2685981
Fax: +9411 2694924 (General) +94112696470 (Chairman)
E-mail: sechrc@sltnet.lk 

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