SRI LANKA: Kandy police refuse to investigate complaints regarding former colleague
Posted on June 9th, 2017

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the destruction of property by a former police officer. Mr. M G Sarath Gamage legally bought land belonging to a former police officer six years ago. However, when he began construction on the land, the former police officer continuously disturbed and destroyed his work. Although Sarath has made several complaints to the Kandy Police Headquarters, none of them were investigated. Even the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRC) did not investigate his complaint.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Background:

Sarath and his wife Chamila purchased a piece of land in Asgiriya (10 perch) at No: 78/58 A, Dodanwela Passage, Asgiriya, Kandy from Police officer Rohan Ajith Gunarathne, on 24 December 2011 under the deed number 3052. The transaction was assisted by the owner’s brother, Prasanna Gunarathne, as well. The transaction was legally executed by a lawyer and properly registered in the Kandy Land Registry. Sarath and Chamila completed all the payments including lawyer’s fees along with all the due stamp duties to the state.

Then, Sarath wanted to put up a parapet boundary wall covering three sides of the said land and obtained due permission from the Kandy Municipal Council (KMC) for the construction, under the approval number: BA/51/2013. The permit granted them a period of three years, which was renewable. Due to personal reasons, the construction of all three walls could not be done according to the original plan and they managed only to build one.

Police Complaints- Denying the protection under the due process of law

On 7 May 2016, they resumed the aforesaid construction. Several relatives of the previous owner, (Laxman Parakrama Jayasundara, Asoka Chulawansha Gonawala, Anura Kumara Gonawala, Nihal Sethunga Wijerathne, Priyanka Shanthi) started to disturb their construction work. Later Sarath learned that one of them had made a false complaint to the ‘Police Hotline Service 119’ under the reference of No: UTR 3911, dated 07 May 2016. In that, he has asked to stop the work. Then these relatives destroyed all the materials that were bought for construction purposes by Sarath.

Then, Sarath made a complaint at the Kandy Headquarters Police Station. He explained all the grievances he suffered directly to the Inspector of Police (IP) B A Somakumara. After considering the details of the complaint, he ordered his officers to record the complaint under the reference: CIB (2) 34/135. Police properly recorded the statements which revealed the committing of crimes of illegal trespassing, and destroying building materials by the perpetrators.

But the police officers did not initiate a proper inquiry. After learning the fact that the perpetrator was a former police officer, the police did not want to investigate. The police constituted only a partial inquiry, and even that was terminated half way after constant telephone calls from the former police officer Rohan Ajith Gunarathne.

Rohan also telephoned Sarath and warned him not to do any construction as he wants the land back. Sarath showed these telephone call logs to the police, but they did not pay any attention. They also did not inquire about the threats Rohan made against him.

With constant disturbances occurring, the approval for the construction expired on 30 May 2016. After a long and hard struggle, Sarath managed to renew the approval from 26/1/2017-30/05/2017.

With the approval in hand, on 10 February 2017, Sarath started clearing the ground for the construction and at around 2 p.m., a group of persons, including a Public Health Inspector (PHI) from the Kandy Municipal Council (KMC), and police officers escorted by the relatives of the previous owner arrived, and ordered for the work to stop. At this outrageous disruption, Sarath made a complaint against the officers of the KMC and the police officers attached to the Kandy Headquarters Police Station. His complaint was recorded under the reference No: CIB (1) 357/139 and CIB (2) 07/106 respectively. Further to that, Sarath personally explained the situation and pleaded IP Kapila Ranasinghe to investigate and provide justice by ensuring the due process of law.

On 13 February 2017, Sarath again attempted to resume work, and yet again they were disturbed and materials were destroyed. Sarath made another complaint under CIB (4) 340/150 to the Kandy Headquarters Police Station, which also was not inquired into properly. Once again, on 16 March 2017 he made a complaint under CIB (2) 351/190 against the officers of the KMC, which has yet to be investigated until today.

Sarath resumed construction again on 1April 2017, and was customarily disturbed by the relatives of the previous owner. This time the perpetrators broke the grinder and threatened Sarath with a crow bar. Sarath’s assistants were also threatened.

On 26 May 2017 Sarath started construction again, and was once again disturbed as on previous occasions. He once again filed a complaint under CIB (3) 93/257 in the Kandy Headquarters Police Station, which too was not inquired into.

Senior DIG Kandy denies justice by not investigating the complaint

In addition to the above said complaints, Mr. Sarath made a complaint to the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) of Kandy on April 5 under reference No: SDIG/CP/OPS/17. In this complaint he narrated all the complaints he made to the Kandy Headquarters Police Station and how those complaints were not investigated. He requested speedy actions from the DIG by investigating his complaints independently, promptly and efficiently. He also made a complaint to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) office on May 12, under the reference No: IGP/PAC10/511/2017, to which he has not yet received any response.

HRC deny justice by not investigating the complaint

Failing to get justice from the police, Sarath filed a complaint against all the violations of his fundamental rights by the law enforcement agencies to the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission’s Kandy Regional Office. It was recorded under reference No: HRC/K/191/17A. However, the HRC office also have not initiated any investigation into the matter.

Suggested Action:

Please send letters to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case. Request an immediate investigation into why Sarath’s complaints have been ignored, and how the police are guilty of protecting their former colleague rather than an innocent victim. All those found responsible for dereliction of duty must be held accountable. Finally, please appeal to the National Police Commissioner and the Inspector General of Police for a special investigation into police officers who abuse their powers.

To support this case, please click here:

 

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ________,

SRI LANKA: Kandy police refuse to investigate complaints against former colleague

Name of Victims: Mr. M G Sarath Gamage (58) of No: 78/58 A, Dodanwela Passage, Asgiriya, in the Kandy District.

Alleged perpetrators
:

1) IP Kandy Headquarters Police Station

2) Ex-police officer Rohan Ajith Gunarathne

Date of incident: 10th February 2017 and onwards
Place of incident: Kandy Headquarters Police Division

According to the information I have received Sarath and his wife Chamila purchased a piece of land in Asgiriya (10 perch) at No: 78/58 A, Dodanwela Passage, Asgiriya, Kandy from Police officer Rohan Ajith Gunarathne, on 24 December 2011 under the deed number 3052. The transaction was assisted by the owner’s brother, Prasanna Gunarathne, as well. The transaction was legally executed by a lawyer and properly registered in the Kandy Land Registry. Sarath and Chamila completed all the payments including lawyer’s fees along with all the due stamp duties to the state.

Then, Sarath wanted to put up a parapet boundary wall covering three sides of the said land and obtained due permission from the Kandy Municipal Council (KMC) for the construction, under the approval number: BA/51/2013. The permit granted them a period of three years, which was renewable. Due to personal reasons, the construction of all three walls could not be done according to the original plan and they managed only to build one.

Police Complaints- Denying the protection under the due process of law

On 7 May 2016, they resumed the aforesaid construction. Several relatives of the previous owner, (Laxman Parakrama Jayasundara, Asoka Chulawansha Gonawala, Anura Kumara Gonawala, Nihal Sethunga Wijerathne, Priyanka Shanthi) started to disturb their construction work. Later Sarath learned that one of them had made a false complaint to the ‘Police Hotline Service 119’ under the reference of No: UTR 3911, dated 07 May 2016. In that, he has asked to stop the work. Then these relatives destroyed all the materials that were bought for construction purposes by Sarath.

Then, Sarath made a complaint at the Kandy Headquarters Police Station. He explained all the grievances he suffered directly to the Inspector of Police (IP) B A Somakumara. After considering the details of the complaint, he ordered his officers to record the complaint under the reference: CIB (2) 34/135. Police properly recorded the statements which revealed the committing of crimes of illegal trespassing, and destroying building materials by the perpetrators.

But the police officers did not initiate a proper inquiry. After learning the fact that the perpetrator was a former police officer, the police did not want to investigate. The police constituted only a partial inquiry, and even that was terminated half way after constant telephone calls from the former police officer Rohan Ajith Gunarathne.

Rohan also telephoned Sarath and warned him not to do any construction as he wants the land back. Sarath showed these telephone call logs to the police, but they did not pay any attention. They also did not inquire about the threats Rohan made against him.

With constant disturbances occurring, the approval for the construction expired on 30 May 2016. After a long and hard struggle, Sarath managed to renew the approval from 26/1/2017-30/05/2017.

With the approval in hand, on 10 February 2017, Sarath started clearing the ground for the construction and at around 2 p.m., a group of persons, including a Public Health Inspector (PHI) from the Kandy Municipal Council (KMC), and police officers escorted by the relatives of the previous owner arrived, and ordered for the work to stop. At this outrageous disruption, Sarath made a complaint against the officers of the KMC and the police officers attached to the Kandy Headquarters Police Station. His complaint was recorded under the reference No: CIB (1) 357/139 and CIB (2) 07/106 respectively. Further to that, Sarath personally explained the situation and pleaded IP Kapila Ranasinghe to investigate and provide justice by ensuring the due process of law.

On 13 February 2017, Sarath again attempted to resume work, and yet again they were disturbed and materials were destroyed. Sarath made another complaint under CIB (4) 340/150 to the Kandy Headquarters Police Station, which also was not inquired into properly. Once again, on 16 March 2017 he made a complaint under CIB (2) 351/190 against the officers of the KMC, which has yet to be investigated until today.

Sarath resumed construction again on 1April 2017, and was customarily disturbed by the relatives of the previous owner. This time the perpetrators broke the grinder and threatened Sarath with a crow bar. Sarath’s assistants were also threatened.

On 26 May 2017 Sarath started construction again, and was once again disturbed as on previous occasions. He once again filed a complaint under CIB (3) 93/257 in the Kandy Headquarters Police Station, which too was not inquired into.

Senior DIG Kandy denies justice by not investigating the complaint

In addition to the above said complaints, Mr. Sarath made a complaint to the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) of Kandy on April 5 under reference No: SDIG/CP/OPS/17. In this complaint he narrated all the complaints he made to the Kandy Headquarters Police Station and how those complaints were not investigated. He requested speedy actions from the DIG by investigating his complaints independently, promptly and efficiently. He also made a complaint to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) office on May 12, under the reference No: IGP/PAC10/511/2017, to which he has not yet received any response.

HRC deny justice by not investigating the complaint

Failing to get justice from the police, Sarath filed a complaint against all the violations of his fundamental rights by the law enforcement agencies to the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission’s Kandy Regional Office. It was recorded under reference No: HRC/K/191/17A. However, the HRC office also have not initiated any investigation into the matter.

I request the intervention of your good offices. Please ensure that an immediate investigation into Sarath’s complaints is conducted. All officers involved in dereliction of duty and supporting the perpetrator should be subject to an internal investigation for breach of Police Departmental Orders.

Yours sincerely,

———————
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Pujith Jayasundara
Inspector General of Police
New Secretariat
Colombo 1
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 11 2 440440 / 327877
E-mail: [email protected]

2. Mr. Jayantha Jayasooriya PC
Attorney General
Attorney General’s Department
Colombo 12
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 11 2 436421
E-mail: [email protected]

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: [email protected] or [email protected]

4. Secretary
Human Rights Commission
No. 36, Kynsey Road
Colombo 8
SRI LANKA
Tel: +94 11 2 694 925 / 673 806
Fax: +94 11 2 694 924 / 696 470
E-mail: [email protected]

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission ([email protected])

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