The case of torture of Shama Kumari

(May 30, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Although torture, cruel and inhuman treatment is a crime in Sri Lanka it is practiced widely at all police station. This is quite well known. What is special about this case is the way the woman was treated at a police station. In Buddhist homes the woman is usually spoken off as the ‘Buddha’ of the house ‘Gedara Budun’. This story tells how the 'Buddha of the home', a mother of two, was treated at a police station when she went to settle a dispute on March 21st of this year.

Narrative as related by Shama Kumari

I went to the police station for some problems at home. I took also a large knife which is usually used in the kitchen. My mother-in-law often harasses me and sometimes when I am going on the road she uses very filthy language to talk to me. She also uses filthy language at home. I went to complain about this to the police.

The reason I took the knife is because that was the one that she tried to attack me with. When she came at me with the knife, saying that she would cut me, my husband jumped between us and took it from her.

I told my husband, "You take the knife and go to the police and to complain about this". He replied, "You go to the police", and he wrapped the knife in paper and gave it to me. I then went to the police station.

When I arrived at the police station there was a gentleman there who was wearing some stars. So I spoke to him and said, "Sir, I have this kind of injustice done to me". I also said that I have earlier also made two complaints and told him that no one from the station appeared to have taken any action or conducted an interview or anything else. I told him that two to three months had passed from the time I complained. However nobody has come from the police station for do anything. Then this gentleman said put that knife aside. He used the word, "Oyi" (a crude word used in place of 'you') to me. I told him ,"Sir I came to make a complaint".

Then that man said that he would not take down the complaint. He said, "You have come bringing complaints against others. You have brought the knife which belongs to others", and he started abusing me. Then he also started abusing my husband. He said “Yako” [Devil] “is this the way you treat your mother. You better chaise away your wife. You better put your children into a convent. You better treat your mother properly”. That is what this policeman told to my husband.

Then I told this policeman “Sir you are the people who are teaching others to commit crimes. You are the people break the families of others”. Then he got up from his seat and assaulted me severely. I had an operation some time back. I am a patient. But this policeman severely beat me up. I had a one and half year child in my hand. When he hit me he also struck the child's head. He caught me by my neck and pushed me towards a police cell.

I struck my back on the bars of the cell and it was very painful. With the child in my arms I ran towards a moving bus hoping to jump on. All these things happen from the Panadura police.