Daily Mirror - Print Edition

Proposed police unit to combat groups disturbing religious harmony HRC calls for a report from IGP

03 Jun 2023 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

  • The HRCSL also wants to know what specialized training the officers of this unit will have related to religious harmony

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has sought a report from the Inspector General of Police on the proposed police unit to act against groups disturbing religious harmony.   

A statement from the commission said under the HRCSL Act, No. 21 of 1996, Sections 10 and 11 the HRCSL notes with ‘extremely deep concern’ that there have been several public arrests linked to a comedy show held in Colombo several weeks ago. In particular, the HRCSL is aware that Jayani Natasha Edirisuriya was arrested for allegedly insulting the Buddhist religion in April of this year and is under court order and is now being held in remand untilJune7. 2021.  

“We have been further advised that there have been additional arrests related to this incident which we informed happened at a theatre in Colombo more than one month ago.  

The IGP is requested to provide a report on this matter. We are interested to understand the nature of the allegation and the investigation that has gone into making these arrests. Your analysis of what is religious disharmony is of equal importance. We would as well want an analysis as to the potential risks from this specific incident to religious harmony would be useful for the HRCSL to understand.  

We further understand that a Special Police Unit is being established to investigate and act against groups that disturb religious harmony. The HRCSL would welcome receiving a briefing document from the IGP on this proposed unit including but not limited to the composition of said unit and specifically what laws it will be policing. We would equally want to know what specialized training the officers of this unit will have related to religious harmony. Further, will this unit be tasked with reviewing past incidents of religious disharmony in the country.  
Furthermore, following receipt of said report, we might seek to request a discussion with the IGP on the decision to make the various arrests as well as to establish the aforementioned unit once his report is submitted and reviewed by our officers,” it says.