In an exclusive report today, Daily Mirror reveals that the Maliboda-Deraniyagala, a village situated an hours drive from Noori where many atrocities are alleged to have taken place, was also alleged to have been under a similar reign of ‘terror’ under a ‘warlord’ known as Dammika and eight of his cohorts.
Daily Mirror learns that similar to the Police and Political collusion that ensured the furtherance of terror in Noori, Dammika and his gang allegedly had complete political and police patronage throughout the period of more than a decade.
Dammika, Ranji, Palitha, Ranga and others in the gang persistently terrorized the village for more than a decade while Anil Champilka alias Athakota the former Deraniyagala PS Chairman was ‘ruling’ the rest of the Deraniyagala.
Dammika and his gang are alleged to have committed atrocities similar to those committed by Champika. They include torture, rape, murder, assault, looting and extortion among a long list of other alleged criminal activities.
Maliboda is a remote and laid back village. Cut off from the rest of the world, the village does not even have connectivity to signals of mobile phone service providers. Maliboda comprises 14 other smaller villages.
Maliboda is the village in which the first of the seven fabled water falls (Eli Hatha) is located. Puwakmal Ella personifies the charm and the elegance of Maliboda. However, unbeknownst to many and to nature’s beauty Maliboda was also under a reign of terror- similar to that of Noori under the reign of the former Deraniyagala PS Chairman Anil Champika.
‘Warlord’ Dammika and the eight gansters have not been arrested yet. However, the interference of the Special Task Force which is camped in Noori has put a temporary lid to the reign of terror.
The villagers are yet fearful of the terror revisiting them and are hesitant to talk to strangers. The few who did, provided us detailed descriptions to the extent to which Political and Police collusion resulted in an entire village being traumatized and terrorized for a long time.
Villagers told us how the Police had worked hand-in-glove with the gang all these years not heeding to the continuous pleas of villagers to end it.
“Each time we go to the Police they would call Dammika and tell him that there is a complaint against him. By the time we get back to our village the entire gang is at our house” A villager who spoke to us on the promise of anonymity told us.
The villagers rants sound familiar because every villager we spoke to in Noori had very similar experiences with the only difference being in the names of the individuals alleged to have committed the crimes.
What transpired during our visit was indeed depressing on the one side and horrifying on another.
Anil Champika alias Athakota seemed to have been in charge of the ‘other divisions’ while Dhammika reigned supreme in Maliboda.
A woman in the village who was also fearful of her identity being revealed told Daily Mirror that Dammika and his gang were responsible for many rapes.
“Sumedha (name changed) left the country and works in the Middle East because she can’t face the villagers. She was the daughter of an estate employee with whom Dammika was at loggerheads. So he raped his young daughter,” one of them told us, continuing the tale of Police inaction, encouragement and support provided to the perpetrators of crime.
Dammika and his gang ‘own’ 250 acres of land previously owned by the Maliboda tea estate.“Many people have fled the area sir. These people forcibly took over their land. Some people were subject to torture and the property of others were looted in broad daylight all these years” Shanthiwel (name changed) a 52-year-old man told us.This was the village in which he was born and bred and therefore had many an insight into the atrocities committed by the gang. He admitted to us that at one point he worked hand-in-glove with the gang.
“One day I brought Kasippu from outside and they were angry about this. So to take revenge they had come home to rape my daughter. My son heard about it and took a big (manna) chopping knife and ran home. We wanted to kill them sir. They didn’t sight the place thereafter. This is how they treated me, a person who was with them you can only imagine what they did to the others” he told us.
An ineffective Police force
With the media attention being drawn to Noori, the top brass of the Police also seem to have confined their attention to the village restricting their vision to the atrocities committed in the village.
However, any individual with commonsense would understand that if the Deraniyagala PS Chairman and the Deraniyagala Police had worked together in committing these crimes in Noori, there is no reason to believe that the terror did not extend to the 25 other divisions in the area.
An hour’s journey to the East of Noori would have ensured the unravelling of what transpired in the area for more than a decade, but it is yet not to be.
Seethawaka Range SSP Anuruddha Rupasinghe, Senior DIG Lalith Jayasinghe and the rest of the police force seem to play a smart ‘media card’ by pacifying the victims of Noori. I behoove to ask if they were also a part of this ring which engulfed Deraniyagala during the reign of terror.
Every villager we spoke to in Maliboda also spoke of political patronage allegedly provided by Chief Minister Mahipala Herath and Deputy Minister H. R. Mithrapala.
“That is how they survived; these people didn’t do a thing about what was happening here. They had their party officers during elections in this area, Dammika used to give vehicles for their election campaigning and they gave him a free hand to do as he pleased,” a villager said.
Villagers told us how the body of a 26-year-old Assistant Manager of the Maliboda tea estate was fiound floating in the stream in 2006.
“He did not give into these people. He was here only for two weeks and after that we found his body on the stream beneath. He had a big problem with Dammika and the gangsters. The Police didn’t investigate it. If they did it at that time Nihal Sir would not have died and all of us would have lived peacefully,” the villager said.
Dammika had later threatened one of the field officers of the estate with the same fate that befell his superior.
“You know what happened to him right? That is what we will do to you if you shout too much,” the field officer was told.
"Maliboda is the village in which the first of the seven fabled water falls (Eli Hatha) is located. Puwakmal Ella personifies the charm and the elegance of Maliboda. However, unbeknownst to many and to nature’s beauty Maliboda was also under a reign of terror- similar to that of Noori under the reign of the former Deraniyagala PS Chairman Anil Champika"
Police spokesman Buddhika Siriwardena however told Daily Mirror that the Special Investigations Unit would submit a complete report on the Police to the IGP shortly, but failed to provide any specifics of the investigation.
“All Police officers in charge of the area including the top brass will be under the investigative microscope,” he said.
At a meeting held last Sunday, the villagers in Noori told the Police that they feard a return of terror. (See box)
In Maliboda too the names of the Chief Minister Mahipala and the Deputy Minister Mithrapala have been mentioned and they are alleged to have provided political patronage. What a disgrace. The Daily Mirror should be congratulated for having the courage to come out with the above news. I hope the Opposition in the Parliament will make use of this report and awaken the country of the service our VIPs provide to the innocent public. The attention of His Excellency the President should be drawn to the atrocities allegedly committed by thugs which has the patronage of the governing party politicians and the area Police. The Opposition in the Parliament must agitate and ensure that the culprits are exposed.
Farook Wednesday, 14 August 2013 05:30 AM
development in towns & NE. dark age for not so remote villages
jayantha Friday, 16 August 2013 08:09 PM
this is not the only incident not only the area this political thugs were allowed to practice their atrocities at their pleasure.. This Mr. Mahiepla Herath Chief minister has used his power in Thalduwa area to free drug dealers being arrested. How Mr Mahiepala has yelled at Avissawella Police HQI I witnessed. This drug dealer was a supporter of Mr. Mahiepala. This ministers have the power to do anything they like. I salute Daily Mirror for having the courage to publish the above article.
nillu Wednesday, 14 August 2013 06:19 AM
End of the 30 year bloddy war gave freedom to politicians and their thugs to do what they want freely, So who says that we are free after the was is ended.
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