Police Brutality in Sri Lanka
Posted on June 12th, 2011

Jay Deshabandu

Another story again about police brutality!  I was terribly shocked when I heard a police man (A real devil) shot and killed a motor cyclist as he did not stop at a police check-point.  It could happen to anyone!

 What happened in the Katunayake free trade zone is another tragedy in which police took the laws on to their hands to shoot unarmed civilians who were just bystanders. Many of them lost their arms or legs and some of them got crippled for life! One person died. Apparently,  police was either following orders or did not know how to control mass protests. This incident too tarnishes  whatever left in the image of Sri Lanka.

 We all remember how some police men assaulted and drowned a mentally ill person in the sea in Colombo in the broad day light while several hundreds of people were witnessing the brutal act.

 These barbaric acts should be condemned in no uncertain terms by all people who have humane values.

 What happened to this cyclist had happened before to many others.  Also, there is no guarantee that it would not happen again to someone else in the future.  There is no doubt that many of our policemen are hardworking people with good values, but, however there is also a significant number of police men that are quick to use their weapons or assault arbitrarily without respecting the law.  These barbaric police men (animals) think that they have a right to kill anyone that does not listen to them!

 Sometimes, it is possible for a driver not see a check-point especially at night. Sometimes, police-check points are not properly lighted, and some times they are hidden behind trees!  I too had a bad experience at one of the check-point in Sri Lanka, where one of the police man approached me with unnecessary questions such as my personal income and the kinds of food I like to eat; and, wasting my time over half an hour without giving me any reasons.  Later I found from the office in charge that they were trying to get some money for a late night arrack party!

 Some times, we blame on Middle East countries on their harsh punishments to our women working there as house maids.  But this punishment of shooting people to death is much more inhumane than anything else we can think of!

 At a time, Sri Lanka is accused of human rights violations in great numbers, these incidents only highlights what the country has been accused of by the so called international community.  It is true that these incidents happen in many under-developed countries such as ours, but there must be some kind of accountability for the violence committed by those who are supposed to be protectors of the nation. The biggest joke is transferring the criminal police man to another area! That is not a punishment, but it is a promotion!

 It is my fervent appeal to the Inspector General of Police, please order all police men not to shoot anyone, if a driver ignored a police order, but ask them to follow the standard procedure.  It is high time that police, in general, be trained to respect life! They should be given an accelerated training course of human rights. They should be trained to promote peace and protect human lives and not the other way around! 

 Finally it is my opinion that it is high time to change the traditional kaki police uniforms designed by the colonial masters.  It should be replaced by professional looking uniforms that reflect a police-man as a highly respected person who provides security and protection for the people!

3 Responses to “Police Brutality in Sri Lanka”

  1. Raj Says:

    I don’t believe a word of the incident mentioned in the writeup, which is also full of spelling errors. Our country is not an ‘under-developed’ one

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    The reason as to why the Katunayake FTZ workers attacked the Police Station there is very puzzling to us. Why attack a Police Station when the issue was with the Ministry of Labor & the Min. of Finance over the Pension Scheme ? The Trade Unions concerned should have asked for talks with these Ministries first instead of organising a rowdy mob to attack the Police Station. The Police, in this instance, have acted in self defence, and why not ? The Police seems to have been caught off guard too. Nevertheless, looking at the organised mob violence of late, it would be prudent for the Police to have tear gas and others methods ready to to disperse unruly mobs.

    We can only conclude that unruly mobs, given any excuse to be violent, are being used in this instance to destabilize the whole country.

    If we, especially our Trade Unions, use LOGIC and civilised processes in our actions to bring about change, then none of these tragic incidents would have happened. However, the mistreatment of a man thought to be mentally ill must be condemned. Whether this man actually died, we do not know.

    By the way, the way the Police deals with perceived miscreants out in the west is far more brutal.

  3. ranjit Says:

    Our policeman are far more better and disciplined than many countries around us. We have some bad apples here and there it’s natural but these police personnal should be more careful when dealing with the public. They should always must learn to protect lives not to destroy lives.

    Those JVP rowdies always makes problems since 1971 and they always take revenge from police department.We should have special trained rapid force to deal with such crowds not ordinary police force with baton. No orders should be given to kill anyone or used live bullets. There are other ways to deal with large boistrous crowds in cities.
    Not only brutality but corruption too are rampart in the police department.We should tackle those immediately and bring our police force to a respectable force if we want our country to go forward. IGP should be a smart,inteligent,fearless person without bending to politicians. He should have guts to act on his own for the good of the people our citizens. All bad guys should be sacked not transfered. Be an example to other forces.

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