- Several factors may have influenced President Wickremesinghe’s decision to appoint Thennakoon as the acting IGP
- One possibility is that he is seeking to test Tennakoon’s capabilities and potential as the permanent IGP
- Another possibility is that the President is under pressure to appoint an IGP, after facing criticism for extending the service of the former IGP, C.D. Wickramaratne
- In 2022, the AG informed then IGP to name Deshabandu Tennakoon as a suspect in the case regarding the violence at Galle Face on May 9, 2021
By Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya
President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday appointed Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon as the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) after months of speculation as to who would get the seat.
The appointment has been met with mixed reactions, with some praising Tennakoon’s experience and expertise saying it will be valuable in leading the police force and implementing strategies to curb crime, while others have expressed concerns about his alleged ties to the former Rajapaksa regime, questioning his impartiality.
The President has appointed Tennakoon as the acting IGP for a period of three months after C.D. Wickramaratne retired as the IGP after a number of extensions. Several factors may have influenced President Wickremesinghe’s decision to appoint Thennakoon as the acting IGP. One possibility is that he is seeking to test Tennakoon’s capabilities and potential as the permanent IGP.
Another possibility is that the President is under pressure to appoint an IGP, especially after facing criticism for repeatedly extending the service of the former IGP, C.D. Wickramaratne.
However, Thennakoon’s alleged ties to the Rajapaksa regime have raised concerns about his impartiality. Some believe that his appointment could be a way for the Rajapaksa family to regain influence over the police force. They fear that Thennakoon may be more inclined to protect the interests of the Rajapaksas than to uphold the law impartially.
In 2022, the Attorney General informed then IGP Chandana Wickramaratne to name Deshabandu Tennakoon as a suspect in the case regarding the violence at Galle Face on May 9, 2021.
However, the Court of Appeal later ordered the dismissal of a writ petition filed against Thennakoon accusing him of assaulting protestors near Galle Face during the “Gota Go Gama” protests.
Despite these concerns, Thennakoon has also been praised for his professionalism and integrity. He is known for his strong work ethic and his commitment to upholding the law. During his 25 years of service in Sri Lanka Police, Thennakoon has served in multiple areas of the country. He has rendered notable service to crack down on crimes and narcotics and implement a number of programmes in the Western Province to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic situation. He said he will give priority to safeguarding national security and to crack down on drugs and organized crimes in the country.
Thennakoon concurrently chaired a committee assigned by Public Security Minister Tiran Alles to examine and propose measures for tackling drug and underworld activities. He previously pledged to effectively address organized crime nationwide within the next six months.