( File photo: Sri Lanka police in action)
By Ruwan Nelugolla.
Following a book launch yesterday (03), I returned home at Kalalgoda Road after 11.00 pm. As I was having a chat with some of my friends at home, policemen in uniform and civics stormed in, dragging behind them a friend of ours by the name of Sanjaya, who is staying with us. As he was on his way to a boutique nearby, a police jeep stopped him, asked if he was a drug user, removed his clothes on the road and searched him. He was beaten up and dragged into the house.
The police searched the house for drugs and finding nothing, tried to take all of us to the police station. Continuing my protestations, I asked them as to how they could do so. A man in civics, uttering raw filth and wielding a pistol, assaulted me and said I would be sent to prison by fabricating a heroin and ganja case against me. They dragged Sanjaya and me to the jeep. When they showed us the pistol, I asked if they were going to shoot us. Since I did nothing wrong and there was nothing to fear the police, and it was the police that had been abusing the law, I went to the jeep.
After getting in, I took my mobile phone out, and the same person in civics asked as to whom I was going to call and again assaulted me. Then, I told them that I am a journalist working for Lanka News Web, and that the police had no right to assault people like that. Saying, “Your mother *** media”, that person continued beating me up all they way until the jeep reached Thalangama police station.
That is how the police marked its 150th anniversary yesterday. By the time Sanjaya and I were taken to the police station, our lawyer was already there. The police settled the matter and freed us. After being beaten by the police, I was not in a mental condition to get hospitalized, and returned home.
On the previous day, there was an exchange of words with the police during a protest near Galle Face Green. Police did not allow us the peaceful protestors to go to the Presidential Secretariat to seek justice for Madhushka de Silva of Anuradhapura who was made to disappear three years ago.
It ended with top police officials hiding behind a group of police women and warning of arrest on a charge of harassing the women if we tried to proceed forward. Madhushka’s wife too, was with us and we did not want to inconvenience a group of women in police uniform who were being used against us.
As we dispersed, two men from the police traffic division asked us for our identity cards. When we opposed their asking us for our identifications without a purpose, they called the Colombo Fort police and brought in two more policemen. We showed them our identity cards with an advice that they should not terrify us in the same manner they had terrified the average citizens of the north and elsewhere.
Only the police that came yesterday know if these two incidents were related. Anyway, I am the aggrieved party and in both incidents, the culprit was the Sri Lanka Police Department.
I work as a journalist of Lanka News Web website, and also an activist of the national movement for freedom for political prisoners. I know the law to a certain extent. Had an average citizen faced what I had to face yesterday, he would be behind bars by now. This is how Sri Lanka’s police enforce the law. The person who assaulted me wielded his pistol and threatened me inside the jeep saying, “I first killed a man when I was at Year 11.” Which institution is responsible for finding out if those in the police are murderers? The only reason for wielding a pistol and attacking me was my question of as to how they could take people like the way they did. I do not know how the police can be so conceited that a citizen could not ask them a question. That is clearly the lawlessness.
– Ruwan Nelugolla – Lanka News Web political editor / LNW