Rasika Bandara Jayasekara and his parents were physically assaulted at their house in Diganaby allegedly by a Naval rating , his brother and father.There had been a heated argument between Rasika and the father of the Naval rating in the afternoon of October 13. That very night the navy rating , his brother and father were alleged to have broken open the front door of Rasika’s house and assaulted Rasika and his parents, who were later hospitalised.
It was also alleged that initially the Police did not arrest the culprits as one of the assailants was in the Navy. However, the Theldeniya Police have now started investigating the matter. The main victim Rasika Bandara (33) said that he had asked Senarathwela, the father of a Naval Rating, who was his neighbour, not to enter the road in the lorry that he had hired as the road got damaged. “This narrow road was paved with concrete around three months ago. A generous neighbour, living down this lane paved the road spending about Rs. 700,000 from his own money. But there’s a layer of sand in between the layers of concrete. The work is not complete and it’s not very strong. We could have never afforded to pave it by ourselves. We should be grateful and protect the road. This was what I explained to the driver,” Rasika said. “Afterwards uncle Senarathwela said even he had a right to the road and a heated argument ensued,” Rasika, who was an electrician, said;.
The incident had taken place on October 13 at around 3.30 p.m, according to the Police “The same night the Naval rating, his brother and their father broke into our house and beat me, and my parents with wooden clubs,” said Rasika. His parents, who were in their sixties sustained serious injuries and were admitted to the Theldeniya District Hospital following the assault. However, Rasika had not admitted himself because he feared for the life of his wife and his four-year-old son, who would be left alone at home.
The alleged culprits are Nuwan Chanaka(30) who is attached to the Sri Lanka Navy, his brother Danushka Lasantha(23) and their father W.M. Senarathwela. Rasika then lodged a complaint at the Theldeniya Police Station on the same day. He alleged that he had been asked to sign the written complaint without the complaint being read to him beforehand. He added that the Judicial Medical Officer, examined his parents and that the Police officers of the Theldeniya Hospital Post recorded statements from them on October 14. The parents have been discharged on October 16. However, as there was no foreseeable action being taken regarding the alleged culprits, Rasika had decided to go to the Theldeniya Police on the 14th. “At the Police Station I was told that there were no Police officers and vehicles to go to my house. So, I insisted vehemently for a Police officer whom, I took in my van to my house to inspect the damage caused. He made notes, took photographs and visited the house of the alleged attacker as well. Afterwards he asked me to drop him at the Police station,” Rasika said.
He added that the Police officer had instructed the assailants to come to the Police station on the 15th. However, they had not turned up at the station. Rasika was then asked to come to the Police station on October 23 along with his witnesses for an inquiry. “My wife’s parents lived close by. So, I named them and one other neighbour as witnesses because they came to rescue us. But they have been unwilling to give evidence as they’re afraid to expose themselves in courts. Not even my wife’s parents came. Nuwan is my wife’s cousin, which is another reason why they don’t want to mingle in this matter. I am actually helpless now,” said Rasika. Rasika informed us that Nuwan iemployed in the Thalathuwa Camp in the Industrial Division of the Navy. “At the beginning I felt that the Police was trying to cover it up.
But after Fr. Nandana intervened the Police took our side and have been supportive. In fact they were willing to go to our neighbourhood and record statements from the neighbours, who have been reluctant to come to the Police station,” he added. “I was informed that the case would be resolved in court. The trial has been fixed for December 05 and the Police said that they would send the necessary documents to the Human Rights Commission. I was told that there were five wrongdoings, which include trespass into land and house, damage and assaulting two old people,” he said. Rasika’s father, K.M.J. Bandara (69), said that he was in the kitchen, when he heard a thundering noise. “It was between 8 and 8.30 p.m. I ran to the living room and I saw my neighbour, who had kicked open the main door trying to beat my son. I went to his rescue and was caught in their fight. My wife was holding onto the club Danushka was trying to beat my son with. Nuwan also came into the house shouting “how come you scolded our father!” There was a big commotion. I was also beaten,” he said.
“Senarathwela also came in shouting reproachfully. They all assaulted us together. When the neighbours tried to stop the fight a pole nearly hit my eye. It knocked on my forehead, above my eyebrow, instead,” he added. He also said that he had not known about the argument in the afternoon prior to the assault. Rasika’s mother W.M. Kumarihami (60) said that when she saw them trying to assault her son she tried to pull away the wooden club from the assailant. “I asked if they wanted to kill him. Then they asked me to go away and pushed me. I knocked on the wall and fell down. But I stood up again and told them not to hurt my son. Then my husband also came and tried to pull them away from him,” she said. While there was an ongoing physical battle in the house she had run out to the garden where she had called for help.
“They assaulted my husband while dragging him outside. The neighbours rescued him at the end. However I fell unconscious and my memory afterwards is very hazy. The club hit me on the thigh really hard once and the bruise still hurts. My shoulders and joints hurt and I find it difficult to sit up,” she said. However, when the Daily Mirror contacted the Naval Media Spokesperson Capt. AkramAlavi he said that the Navy had not heard of the incident. “If it’s a disciplinary case we will take action. If it’s a civil offence the police will take the normal course of action. If we do hear about the case we will inquire about it and the police will do the investigation. We have a closed branch called the disciplinary unit who would look into it as well,” he said. He requested us to inform the victims to notify the Naval Headquarters about it.
“This is a matter that will definitely be taken up in courts”, said a Police officer at the Theldeniya Police Station. “We have arrested the culprits and they have been bailed out. We are doing an investigation in relation to this matter,” said a Sub Inspector attached to the Theldeniya Police. “Disciplinary action will not be taken as this is a case of assault,” he said. Fr. Nandana Manatunga, the Director of the Human Rights Office in Kandy said that the Theldeniya Police Station had been known for incompetence even before.
“There are two cases in relation to this. In one instance the Theldeniya HQI beat an innocent civil security officer, Jayantha in 2013. Some valuable sandal wood, which was taken as court production had been stolen and Jayantha was questioned about it. He was tortured severely to admit that he had helped a group of people steal it. Ultimately he was suspended from his work though he was innocent. Now, after three and a half years of his arrest he has been reinstated,” Fr.Manatunga said. He also narrated another incident where an innocent onlooker was beaten because of false assumptions. “In 2011 Suppiah Sivakumar was publicly assaulted by officers from the Theldeniya Police during a Hindu religious festival.
“Two groups had started fighting and Police officers from the Theldeniya Police had arrived at the scene. They had started beating Sivakumar, though many people including his family and people who were part of the dispute told the Police that he had not been involved in the fight,” he added.