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Sri Lanka: Police brutality and an insult to the interfaith Iftar gathering at Galleface; Muslim Council wants action against officers.

Image: Policeman asking few women to go away without giving any reason.

April 10th 2023
The Inspector General of Police
Police Headquarters
422 York Street
Colombo 1
Dear Sir

Police excess at the interfaith Iftar (break fast) at Galle Face Green on 9/4/2023

I wish to bring to your kind attention the highhandedness of the police at the interfaith Iftar at Galle Face last evening at 5 PM.

The organisers that included a multi faith group wanted to bring an interfaith break fast group during our holy month of Ramadan in prayer and solidarity with people who were killed on the fateful Easter Sunday of 21/4/2019. They had invited people of all faiths to join in solidarity and experience the Muslim break fast at dusk. Over 1200 people of all faiths had gathered at Galle Face, near the Galle Face hotel.

The organisers sought the permission of the Colpetty Police in writing and the gentleman officer in-0charge had verbally given them permission. He had also given his name and mobile no to call him if there was any need of additional security. Our organisers had told him that they do not expect any trouble as its a simple solidarity meeting of different faiths and share our breaking Ramadan fast.

At about 4.45, officers from the Fort police had descended on the area where food was being served to break fast to the invitees and wanted the organisers to abandon the event. Amidst protests from the organisers, the police had forced some of our invitees to recite our Kalima (Laaa Ilaaha Illa-llaahu Muhammadur-Rasoolu-llaah – meaning There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah).

This was an interfaith gathering and people of other faiths would not have known our Kalima and even if they knew, the police have no moral justification to demand any one to recite professing of the Muslim faith and this should not be even demanded from a Muslim. This is police brutality and an insult to the interfaith gathering who had come in hundreds.

We would be pleased to provide you video evidence which is already going viral in social media.

We kindly call upon you, sir to immediately order and investigation and bring the officers who blasphemed this holy event during our Ramadan and take necessary administrative action.

We thank you for your kind intervention at your earliest.

Yours sincerely
Hilmy Ahamed
Acting President

CC: H E Ranil Wickramasinge – President and Minister of Defence.
Hon. Tilan Alles MP – Minister of Public Security
General Kamal Gunaratne – Defence Secretary
Mr Deshabandu Tennakoon – Senior DIG -Western Province

Read as a PDF:Final Galle Face Police action 9_4_2023

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