The Standing Committee on Rule of Law of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) called on the National Police Commission (NPC) to take immediate action to interdict police officers who assaulted students recently or to at least place them on compulsory leave pending investigations.
Chairman of the Standing Committee on Rule of Law of the BASL Lal Wijenayake said they condemned the attack on the protesting Higher National Diploma for Accounting Collective, while also admonishing the police for using excessive force as opposed to minimum force.
The task of the police was to disperse the assembly and not to punish those who had a legitimate right to protest, he noted, adding that the police could only use such force if there was a threat to public property or persons.
“In the circumstances, maximum force was used against a girl who had fallen on the ground. The police need not have attacked people who were running, fleeing and retreating. The use of water cannons would have been wholly sufficient. The baton charge was uncalled for. The manner in which the police handled the girls is even unacceptable by international standards. It is unfortunate that this happened once the NPC was established recently. We expect better standards. The NPC must inquire urgently and take immediate steps against the police officers seen and identified in the videos as using excessive force,” he emphasized.
(Original Caption : BASL slams police assault on students)
BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody