Murder and abduction due to failure of the police to provide protection

(August 05, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) A wealthy businessman was killed by a relative of his second wife who later attempted to abduct his two daughters. Prior to his murder the deceased complained to the Ragama Police requesting protection but as is usual in Sri Lanka no action was taken. The suspected mastermind behind the killing and abduction, the second wife, has not been arrested by the police. This case is yet another illustration of the total disregard by the police of their sworn duties, that is, to protect and serve the citizens of their country and this is due to a large part because of the influence wielded by the wealthy elite.


According to the information that the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received, Ms. Monali Alwis (23) and Jinadari Alwis (22) both of No: 276/10/ A, Werulugahalanda, Thewatte Road, Ragama in the district of Gampaha are two sisters studying at the most prestigious schools in Colombo. Monali completed her university entrance exam A/L while Jinadari completed her O/Ls. Their mother Neelani De Silva died in 1990.

Monali and Jinadari were brought up by their grandmother until 2007. Thereafter, their father, Gamini Alwis who was a businessmen and a part time teacher took over in caring for his two daughters. Gamini Alwis owned land and property in Ragama as he owned some businesses .Monali and Jinadari were happy to live with their father until he got married to H.G Leela Gamage, a school teacher at the Basilica School in Ragama.

Leela soon brought her nephew, Chanaka Harshan, from Matara to live with them in Ragama. Chanaka had no proper education and was four years younger than Monali. However Chanaka was interested in Monali and was encouraged to pursue a relationship by Leela. However, when Gamini Alwis found out about the proposed relationship he was very angry and chased Chanaka from the house in 2009.

During this period Chanaka threatened Monali that he would somehow take her and kill anyone who opposed him. This was reported to the Ragama Police Station by Gamini Alwis in May and once again in August 2009. Despite making two complaints to the police about the threats no action was taken by the officers.

On 8 December 2010 when Monali and her sister Jinadari were sleeping they were awakened by some strange noises from their father's room which was close-by. Soon they heard their father screaming. Frightened, Monali and Jinadari hid under their beds and some strangers walked into their room. The strangers pulled them out from under the beds and threatened that if they did not accompany them the father would be killed. One of the men had a knife and Monali recognized him as Chanaka Harshan, the nephew of their step-mother.

The men ordered Monali and her sister to walk to a van outside the house but then found that the van had already gone, so they were made to walk through a lonely road to the new overhead bridge at Ragama town until they found a three-wheeler.

However, the three-wheeler that carried Monali, Jinadari, Chanaka and the other two men stopped to fill up with petrol at one of the sheds in Kadawata town, which was very close to the Kadawata Police Station. The driver and the men got off at this point and Monali and Jinadari, taking the opportunity got off the vehicle and shouted for help. They clung to the three-wheeler driver for protection and at their cries for help the three men ran off and disappeared.

Monali and Jinadari were then taken to Kadawatha Police Station and from there handed over to the Ragama Police Station and soon they heard that Gamini Alwais, their father, was dead. Allegedly he had been killed by the three men while he struggled with them. Monali and and Jinadari were handed over by the police to one of their aunt's in Ratmalana.

The step-mother Leela Gamage was upstairs at home while all this happened. Monali and Jinadari both believe that their step mother knew what was to take place but did not take any steps to protect their injured father or either of them. Further, Manoli and Jinadari states that the killing of their father and the attempted kidnap happened with the full knowledge of their step-mother and that she actively participated in the planning. Without her assistance it would not have been possible for the suspects to enter the house and complete their mission.

The driver of the van who was hired by Chanaka from Matara, after witnessing the murder of Gamini Alwis became scared and returned to home. That same evening he made a report to the Matara Headquarters Police Station.

Later the Ragama Police Station filed a criminal case in the Magistrate's Court of Gampaha regarding the killing of Gamini Alwis following which four identification parades have been held since December 2010. However, it has been noted that the step-mother, Leela has been seen in the company of the police. Monali and Jinadari identified Chanaka Harshan during one of the parades, however, to everyone's surprise, Leela, who is believed to have masterminded the murder and the abduction, was not arrested. According to Monali, Leela got Gamini Alwis to write the deeds of the house in her name.

Monali and Jinadari feel that the whole drama was planned by the step-mother HG Leela Gamage to take over the property of their father. However since she is so friendly with the police, she has not been arrested or questioned. Therefore Monali and Jinadari fear that she might be planning something worse for them and call for independent inquiry.

Chanaka was arrested after a week of the incident and is now remanded; the case was called on the 22 June 2011 but was postponed. The driver was arrested and released on bail and one more suspect was arrested as well.

Monali and Jinadari are now in fear of their lives. The actual culprit who was behind the killing of their father has good connections with the police. Two young women who lost their sole remaining parent are in fear and without any proper support from the authorities. They now live in hiding as the police have failed to provide proper witness protection for the victims and the witnesses. 

Source: The Asian Human Rights Commission 

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