Mentally retarded person tortured by Thalawakele Police

(March 11, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mr. Alagumail Mohan (25) of Line-10, Thalawakele Estate, Thalawakele in the Nuwara Eliya District who was diagnosed as being mentally retarded was tortured whilst under treatment. Mohan was illegally arrested and severely tortured by police officers attached to the Thalawakele Police Station on 15 February 2011. When Mohan was brought to the police station he was beaten and kicked, humiliated with obscene language and knocked about his head. Then his left arm was twisted and wrenched by the officers. When he was released he was admitted first to the Nuwara Eliya Base Hospital and later to the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital where it was found that his left arm was fractured. This case is yet another illustration of the exceptional collapse of the rule of law in the country.

According to information, Mr. Alagumail Mohan (25) of Line-10, Thalawakele Estate, Thalawakele in the Nuwara Eliya District is a mentally retarded patient. He has been diagnosed as such for several years now by the doctors at the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital where he receives treatment. Further the consultant issued a special letter of concern asking people to pay special attention to his condition.

On 15 February 2011 Mohan went to a shop situated in close proximity to the Thalawakele Tea Factory belonging to Mr. Ranaweera and asked for a bottle of Fanta (a soft drink). The shop owner gave him a bottle which Mohan drank before returning it to the shop owner. He remained at the shop talking with the owner and other customers. He then left the shop forgetting to pay the price for the drink.

Mohan went to his house at Line-10 in the Thalawakele Estate. After a short while two persons in civilian clothes came by a three-wheeler and asked him to come out of his home. The two persons arrested Mohan and explained that they are from the Thalawakele Police Station. They had received a telephone call from Mr. Ranaweera that Mohan had not paid the price for the Fanta drink he bought. Then the officers brought Mohan to the police station by the same three-wheeler.

After Mohan was brought inside the police station he was produced before Sub Inspector (SI) Gunarathna who started to shout at Mohan and blame him with obscene language. Mohan was not able to understand any of these things. Then SI Gunarathna started beat him with punches and kicks and struck him about the head. Then he grabbed Mohan's left wrist which he twisted and wrenched. Mohan was not able to bare the pain and started screaming loudly. SI Gunarathna released Mohan and he was able leave the station and return home.

When he went to the home he felt severe pain in his left arm. Then his relatives informed the Estate management and they arranged for an Estate Ambulance to take Mohan, who was in severe pain, to Nuwara Eliya Base Hospital. Due to the seriousness of his condition the doctors at that hospital transferred Mohan to the Teaching Hospital of Peradeniya.

Mohan was admitted to the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital and underwent an X-ray examination and the doctors informed the relatives that there was an oblique fracture (please see X-ray above) due to the tortured he suffered. Mohan had to undergo surgery to treat the fracture and a plate and pins were inserted. Mohan was instructed to attend the orthopedic clinic of the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital for further treatment.

There is no doubt in the minds of Mohan's relatives that he simply forgot to pay for the drink due to his mental illness and that if reminded, he would have paid for it before leaving the shop. They also believe that there was no malice or mischief intended. They state that the police tortured and broke Mohan's wrist at the whim and fancy of a private party.

Mohan and his relatives state that SI Gunarathna and the officers of Thalawakele Police violated Mohan's rights. Despite his obvious mental disability (which is widely known and understood in the area) the police showed no respect or understanding. He was humiliated and tortured in the cruelest manner for what was, in fact, a minor matter that could have been easily resolved. Due to this injury Mohan has to take treatment for a few more months. They also believe that the State of Sri Lanka should be responsible for violation of Mohan's rights.

The mother of the victim narrated the story in the video.

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