By Farook Thajudeen
A Colombo Court today severely reprimanded the police for not carrying out their duty by arresting the armed thugs who attacked civilians during their peaceful march at Hulftsdorp yesterday and said the police should be ashamed of dancing to the tune of politicians.
Colombo Chief Magistrate Champa Janaki Rajaratne made this observation when the Colombo Crimes Division OIC Premaratne produced eight people in Court in connection with the damaging of public and private property and causing injury to bystanders.
The Magistrate released them on personal bail of Rs.500 each and warned the police not to mislead the Court by suppressing the truth with the intention of safeguarding the real culprits.
“The Police Department and the Judiciary are maintained by public funds and their duty is to serve the public and not to act according to their whims and fancies,” the Magistrate said.
OIC Premaratne in his report to Court said that those who were arrested came in a procession to protest the arrest of former Army Commander and Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka.
The OIC said that at that time a group of government supporters who had gathered near the statue of former president Premadasa retaliated against the supporters of General Fonseka.
When the Magistrate inquired from the OIC whether there were eye witnesses to the incident, the Colombo Central Crimes Division ASP Jayaratne said he witnessed the whole incident and that he advised the two factions to disperse and desist from violence but as his orders were not carried out he directed the police to teargas the crowds and fire water cannons at them.
He also said the pro Fonseka group had not obtained permission to hold the protest rally. At this point the Magistrate asked him whether the pro government faction had obtained permission. The ASP unable to answer her question remained silent.
Counsel Gunaratne Wanninayake appearing for the eight suspects told Court that the police was misleading it and that the police were protecting the armed thugs who with UPFA Municipal Councillor Ajantha Liyanage had attacked the innocent demonstrators.
Mr. Wanninayake said that while the thugs and the police were assaulting the innocent people the lawyers who were present in Court at the time had intervened in the name of democracy.
Magistrate Rajaratne ordered the police to arrest the real culprits who could be clearly identified in the photographs and warned the police to avoid twisting facts and thereby misleading the Court.
The Chief Magistrate also said that people were free to hold dissenting political views but the judiciary and the police had to carryout their duties impartially.