Ratnapura Policeman’s public attack on a woman widely condemned This brutality a shame to Lanka

30 September 2014 06:37 pm - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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In the aftermath of the Wariyapola incident where a young woman publicly assaulted a man who is alleged to have sexually harassed her, now comes a scandalous incident where a Ratnapura policeman was videoed while brutally assaulting a woman with a wire. The shocking video went viral on the social media and was shown on television for several minutes leaving viewers horrified.

 In front of hundreds of onlookers the policeman went on beating the women who was on the ground and pleading with him to stop the torture. The horror was videoed secretly and was widely publicised even worldwide through the social media giving the police a terrible image.  

The Dailymirror spoke to politicians, human rights activists, lawyers and the people regarding the incident.

I was assaulted because I refused Policeman’s demands for sexual favours 


In a video interview with the media the victim alleged that the policeman has asked for sexual favours but she had refused. That was why she was assaulted.
The woman said she lived at Kanadora in Ratnapura and often came to the bus stand. She admitted she was a sex worker but claimed she had no option because she had to fined the money to feed her children.    

She said the Police Sergeant had three times asked to have sex with her but she had refused. He was apparently angered by this and had allegedly instigated another woman named Ganga to start a quarrel with her. Then he had accused the victim of starting a quarrel, scolded her in obscene language and started assaulting mercilessly even while she was rolling on the road. She alleged that the Police Sergeant had kicked her.

She said that she later went to the Ratnapura Police Station to make a complaint but she was told that the Head Quarters Inspector was not in. The victim’s husband said both of them had gone to town on that day and she had stayed at the bus stand while he returned home.



United National Party Parliamentarian and now Leadership Council member Thalatha Atukorale who represents Ratnapura District said a policeman could not beat any woman in the way that the victim was beaten.

"This is a case where the police have acted with high handedness"



“The policemen have no right to assault a woman. And no one has a right to assault anyone like that. If the Police need to enforce the law they have to be more careful. This is a case where the police have acted with high handedness,” she said. Ms. Atukorale said there were laws relating to domestic violence but now we had to cope with violence in public. Ms. Atukorale said there was as usual a delay in taking actions against perpetrators of such violence against women.

“If the authorities acted immediately and effectively such incidents could be prevented,” she said. She said the biggest culprits were those expected to enforce the law.











Human Rights activist and lawyer Sudarshana Gunawardana said police officers had no legal authority to torture anyone under any circumstances.


Human Rights activist and lawyer Sudarshana Gunawardana said police officers had no legal authority to torture anyone under any circumstances.

 “Torture was the violation of a person’s fundamental rights and thus a criminal offence. Sri Lanka has ratified the Anti Torture Convention and we have enacted the Torture Convention Act of 1994. Under this Act if a Police Officer tortures somebody the Attorney General can indict the officer,” he said. The lawyer said there were a number of complaints against the police relating to the violation of human rights.“Moves to indict police officers on torture charges have stopped. This allows the police to go on torturing people. There is a gender dimension also to this story. There has been widespread reaction to this incident as the victim was a woman. This reminds me of an incident in 2009 where police officer attacked a man in the sea at Bambalapitiya. They beat him until he was drowned,” he said.

"This reminds me of an incident in 2009 where police officer attacked a man in the sea at Bambalapitiya. They beat him until he was drowned"

.
He said according to the law prostitution was an offence and therefore sex workers were in a trap because police could attack them for violating the law. He said the policeman had allegedly demanded sex with the woman. When she refused she was assaulted.


The well-known human rights activist and Contitutional lawyer J.C. Weliamuna said the incident in Ratnapura was fortunately videoed by a bystander but there were hundreds of such incidents where policemen attack or tortured men and women and got away without punishment.

“The policemen have a habit of assaulting people. In Sri Lanka law enforcement authorities practice torture routinely. When such matters are taken up in courts Police try to cover them up,” he charged.
Mr. Weliamuna said Sri Lanka was a signatory to the Convention Against Torture (CAT).


"When such matters are taken up in courts Police try to cover them up"



He said that when Sri Lanka was reviewed under this convention Sri Lankan representatives denied violations. But the positive aspect was that more cases were being highlighted now and the police would be forced to take disciplinary action. Mr. Weliamuna said the law enforcement authorities must be educated and given an awareness of human rights conventions but unfortunately this was not happening in Sri Lanka. The eminent lawyer charged that the cases of similar attacks by police officers on men and women were numerous specially in the case where victims could not defend himself or herself. “From what I saw the victim was helpless and could not defend herself. There is a story that a stone was thrown at a police officer. If that was the case it is a matter for courts to decide. The police cannot arbitrarily punish a person,” he said.  

When Mr. Weliamuna was asked why the people of Sri Lanka and civic action groups did not take tougher action related to such cases, he lamented that it was because of a lack of unity.

“In the past few decades Sri Lankan society has been passive. For example look at the white van incidents. Scores of people have been abducted. Except for a few the others do not protest. Ultimately this is what we get when we do not have unity and get actively involved in civic action,” he said.



“If proved we will take action against the policeman”-Police Media Spokesman, SSP Ajith Rohana said.

 The Media spokesman stated that the police officer was interdicted immediately after primary investigations. He said that further investigations will be done with regard to the incident.


"The Media Spokesman said if it is proved that an offence had been committed they will take action under the Criminal Law. “Also we are hoping to take disciplinary action as well.  We will act transparently in respect of this incident”"



“We were unable to find the victim so far as she has left the area. Once we find her we will direct her to Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) and also record a statement.  We have directed our teams to find the victim. Also we are hoping to get evidence from the witnesses,” he said.  The Media Spokesman said if it is proved that an offence had been committed they will take action under the Criminal Law. “Also we are hoping to take disciplinary action as well.  We will act transparently in respect of this incident,” he said.
Pix by Kushan Pathiraja

Video: Another assault video goes viral




web comments


kaluthae – The police has gone to dogs. Even Indian policemen are far better than ours

Kasun - This is wrong... Women shouldn’t be beaten like this...

Victor - It is stupid to say that the policeman did the right thing. What he did was totally wrong. He should be arrested.

Manisha - It is her right to be what ever she wants. Who has the power to execute her without a proper judgment? Please be more intelligent...

Nel – Everyone was just watching and recording the scene, no one bothered to call the police or stand against what happened. Wow, our Sri Lankans!!

AM – isn’t she innocent until proven guilty?

Ruwan - Whatever it is police can’t beat people like this, especially in public. It’s clearly act upon anger.

LK - She should have respected the officer and the officer should have tolerated.

Mount - Use woman police.
Wasantha Wijewardane - I am a lawyer. There is clear evidence of police officer violating law. He should immediately be taken into custody.

Bren - You cannot beat any one, you just have to cuff them and taken them to the police in case if its difficult to stop... No one has any right to beat anyone, especially a woman. Also how you throw a rock at a policeman who is trying to stop a fight? She also should be taken to courts for this and given required punishment for that.
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  Comments - 3

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  • Nawaz Dawood Wednesday, 01 October 2014 11:32 AM

    No one is approving this conduct of a police officer or any other human being. But it has to be brought before the court and facts have to be established before meeting any punishment. During the days of UNP many such things had happened. How about the coup in 1961 with the blessings of UNP and later all culprits were released by UNP on a technical reason. How about Dr. Sarathchandra getting beaten up. How about the judges getting beaten up. So many ugly things have happened. Conduct of a stray person cannot be held against the government. Let us see how government is proceeding with this incident. Mr. Weliamuna should guard his mouth with his comments. I have never seen a policeman beating up civilians in this fashion ever. He is trying to portray Sri Lanka as one of the African states to satisfy his masters in the US and the west.

    Fernando Wednesday, 01 October 2014 02:37 PM

    Now they will say Awama balaya by the Policeman. The Policeman should be criminally prosecuted. via DM iPad app

    srinath.gunaratne Wednesday, 01 October 2014 11:14 AM

    Interdicted! Why not arrest him?


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