Police vs. Police

(February 02, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mr. P G W G Jayarathna,a Police Constable (PC), was tortured by an Inspector of Police which resulted in the perforation of his ear drum. PC Jayarathna was assaulted by Inspector of Police (IP) Nishantha Alwis the OIC of Zone-14 of Vavuniyava District on 2 May 2009. Though the victim officer complained to all higher authorities of the police department, IP Nishantha was promoted to the position of Assistant to the Senior DIG of Sabaragamuwa and Uva. Presently IP Nishantha is attempting to influence the witnesses of the case and making death threats to the victim. The prosecution is being handled by the Vavuniyawa Headquarters Police Station and the officers concerned are reluctant to proceed with the case. The life of the victim is in danger. The case is yet another illustration of the exceptional collapse of the rule of law in the country.

P.G.W.G. Jayarathna (37) of number 7/3, Panwatte, Ovilikanda, Matale is married and a police constable (PC) attached to the Sri Lanka Police Department. On 2 May 2009 he served at number 7 bunker of Sub Zone 1 of Zone 14 of Vavuniyawa District. His bunker was at the Vavuniya Mannar main road. On the particular day at around 6 pm as usual he prepared to light the lantern to the Lord Buddha statue. While completing his religious ritual he heard the horn of a police jeep. Immediately he went to the front of the bunker where he saw a police jeep with two senior officers and few junior police officers. Immediately Jayarathna saluted the seniors and approached the jeep with his weapon. He knew the two senior officers, Assistance Superintendent of Police (ASP) Jayantha Athapaththu and Inspector of Police (IP) Nishantha Alwis. IP Nishantha alighted from the jeep and asked Jayarathna the reason for not coming to him immediately. He answered that he was carrying out his religious ritua l by lighting the lantern to the Load Buddha. Then IP Nishantha slapped him severely. Jayarathna understood that IP Nishantha was inebriated at the time as where the officers accompanying him. When he was assaulted it was witnessed by Sergeants Jayarathana and Kularathna who were the assistants of ASP Athapaththu. Further the incident was witnessed by another police officer, Thilakarathna, who also served in number 8 bunker as well. Just after Jayarathna was assaulted Sergeant Jayarathana and Sergeant Kularathna went to IP Nishantha. They were staggering as they walked as they were both drunk. They urged IP Nishantha to return to the vehicle. Jayarathna told the ASP that he worshiped Lord Buddha every day by lighting a lantern. Then the ASP told IP Nishantha that they had to go and they left the place.

Jayarathna felt unbearable pain in his ear along with an unusual eco on in ear. Also he lost his sense of balance and was not able to stand properly.

Jayarathna called the State Information Centre on 1919 and asked the telephone numbers of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Vavuniya and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Vavuniya. Though he was able got those numbers he was not able to contact the officers. Then he called to 118, the Emergency Service number and asked them to inform a senior police officer at Vavuniya to come and take him for treatment as he cannot travel unaided. He waited for some time but no one came.

Then Jayarathna went to meet his immediate senior, the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Sub-Zone 1. He was able to make a record about the incident. Then the OIC (Administration) of Zone-14, Maddumabandara, came to him and told Jayarathna that he should not go for treatment as the IP Nishantha was drunk and would face future problems if the complaint went any further. Then Jayarathna informed him that he was in great pain and could not stay. Then Madduamabandara went away saying that he would return with a vehicle but he never did so.

When he could no longer bear the pain he went to the office of the Zone-14 after making a record on the record book of the Sub-Zone officer. At that time he met IP Nishantha who told him that he can go anyplace he wished as he was not afraid of any of those authorities.

Then Jayarathna handed over his official weapon to Bunker 6 of Sub-Zone 1 and kept a note of the record. He then went to the Government Hospital of Madawachchiya at 10.55 pm where he was admitted. Before he was admitted an officer from the Madawachchiya Police Station also recorded a statement from Jayarathna regarding the incident.

While he was treated at the ward he vomited around four times and suffered a severe headache as well. After the doctors examined his ear they decided to transfer Jayarathna to the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital for further treatment. He was transferred with an ambulance. After admitting him to the Anuradhapura hospital he was examined by the ENT consultant and informed him that that there is a perforation to his ear drum (tympanic membrane).

Jayantha then made a complaint to the SSP Vavuniyawa, DIG Vavuniyawa and to the police headquarters. He also made complaint with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. Then the HQ Police Station Vavuniyawa filed a criminal case against the IP Nishantha in the Magistrate Court Vavuniya and the case number was 56816/2009. In this case IP Nishantha was accused of committing a crime of grievous hurt by perforation to the ear drum.

The witnesses for the case were all police officers including the seniors and few junior officers. Presently the case is pending.

Meanwhile the case Jayarathna filed at Human Rights Commission was taken up for inquiry and the when it was concluded the Commission decided that IP Nishantha had violated the fundamental rights guaranteed to the Jayarathana and further ordered him to pay sum of Rs. 10 000/= as compensation.

Jayarathna states that if a government officer is found to be inebriated while on duty it should be considered as one of the most serious offences and that officer should be dismissed from service after being found guilty.

Instead of that happening a few weeks later he found that IP Nishantha was promoted and appointed as the Personal Assistant to the Senior Deputy Inspector General (Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces). After his appointment Jayarathna observed that police officers attached to the HQ police station of Vavuniya have shown no interest in proceeding with his case. Further he found that all of the witnesses were failing to appear in court as they were reluctant to give evidence due to the influence of the IP. Further he states that his life has been placed in danger by the higher authorities of the police department by their silence and reluctance to take action against IP Nishantha.

Jayarathna further state that he learned that certain steps have been taken to change the order of the HRC decision which was in his favour. Presently Jayarathna is in fear of his life.

He narrated the way that he was tortured and the violation of his rights in the video.

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