Mon, 04 Dec 2023 Today's Paper

Sri Lanka grapples with crime wave and IGP turmoil

20 September 2023 09:31 am - 17     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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C.D. Wickrameratne to get another extension as IGP?  

  • More than 75 shooting incidents have been reported across the country this year
  • Special Task Force with the Police and other Security  Forces, has initiated special operations to curtail underworld  activities

By Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya  

In the recent past, Sri Lanka has witnessed a worrying increase in various forms of criminal activities such as shootings, killings in broad daylight and theft, robbery, and drug-related offenses, raising concerns among citizens and authorities alike.  The recent tragic killing of a six-year-old girl in Colombo has sent shockwaves through the community and ignited a strong public outcry.  

The girl was killed and her father was injured after two unidentified men on a motorcycle opened fire at their three-wheeler near the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court.  

This heartbreaking incident has prompted serious concerns regarding the ability of the police and law enforcement agencies to ensure public safety and effectively combat crimes.  

According to police reports, more than 75 shooting incidents have been reported across the country this year alone, resulting in the loss of over 40 lives and leaving many others injured. Furthermore, sources indicate a rising trend in the illicit drug trade, contributing to a significant increase in drug-related crimes and underworld activities.  

In response to these challenges, a committee, led by Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon, was appointed to investigate and propose measures to combat drug and underworld activities. This committee operates under the guidance of Public Security Minister Tiran Alles and is responsible for assessing the current situation and recommending effective strategies to address these issues.  

However, amid the escalating crime rates, the role of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) is crucial for maintaining law and order.  

The recent turmoil surrounding the appointment of an IGP has created a leadership vacuum that has had dire consequences.  

The present IGP, C.D. Wickramaratne, who received a three-month service extension from President Ranil Wickramasinghe, is set to conclude his tenure on September 26 after multiple extensions.  

The tussle for the IGP post has been marred by allegations of political interference. This has eroded public trust in the police force and hindered its ability to function independently.  

Sources said that C.D. Wickramaratne may receive another service extension from the President, further prolonging the uncertainty surrounding the IGP appointment.  

Meanwhile, the power struggle for the IGP post has created divisions within the police force, with some officers aligning themselves with different factions vying for the position. This internal conflict has further weakened the force’s ability to tackle crime.  

According to the current seniority list, Senior DIGs Nilantha Jayawardena, L.S. Pathinayake, Deshabandu Thennakoon, and Ajith Rohana are among the contenders for the topmost position. However, there has been strong opposition from several civil organizations, the Catholic Church, and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) against Senior DIGs Nilantha Jayawardene and Deshabandu Tennakoon due to certain allegations against them.  In the wake of the race to the IGP post in March where Wickramaratne was given an extension, seven Senior DIGs, some of whose names were in the line for the IGP post have been transferred.  

At that time several SDIGs including Ajith Rohana had accused the Public Security Minister, alleging they were subject to malicious, unreasonable and unjustifiable transfers. Rohana alleged that the minister did all these malicious acts to harass them and to protect a particular SDIG. SDIG Rohana also filed an FR petition requesting to issue an order invalidating the letter issued by the IGP to transfer him to the Eastern Province.  

There is no doubt that the public’s confidence in law enforcement has led to decreased cooperation between the public and the police in solving crimes.  

Earlier, the Catholic Church and Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) urged that it is essential for political leaders to prioritize the appointment of a qualified and impartial IGP.  

Meanwhile, the Public Security Minister said he is taking proactive measures to bring down the alarming crime rates in the country   In response to concerning trend of crimes, the minister said that the Special Task Force, in collaboration with the Police and other Security Forces, has initiated special operations to curtail underworld activities.  

He said that the Police Department is working on a non-political agenda and is always committed to protecting the law and order of the country at the highest level.  

He said that decisive actions have already been taken to put an end to such activities. “The Security Forces have been given clear instructions to use necessary force when required,” he said.


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  Comments - 17

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  • Voter Wednesday, 20 September 2023 11:44 AM

    Incumbent IG is a capable leader but Tyrant won’t allow him to do his duty….

    S. Sahabandu Wednesday, 20 September 2023 11:51 AM

    SLPP members/supporters behind most criminal activity like never before. Police are helpless !!

    paradise Wednesday, 20 September 2023 12:08 PM

    RW is more concerned about flying and not interested to look into this. Where is Kamal Guns and what is he doing ???? Every day broad day light killing.

    Mallika Wednesday, 20 September 2023 03:08 PM

    This is because we have a President who is impotent like the rest he governs so he cannot rise to the occassion.

    Bandu Wednesday, 20 September 2023 03:19 PM

    IGP may receive another service extension from the President, till Deshabandu is cleared of this cases. Will any one believe him saying saying that the Police Department is working on a non-political agenda and is always committed to protecting the law and order of the country at the highest level.

    ara Wednesday, 20 September 2023 03:37 PM

    All contenders are not suitable to the post.

    IRC Wednesday, 20 September 2023 04:09 PM

    Why not appoint a Presidential Commission to find out the reasons for this spread of crime in the country .Desabandu can head it and include some underworld characters into it.

    A sensible person Wednesday, 20 September 2023 04:44 PM

    Anybody other than Deshabandu Tennekoon may be OK.

    Banda Wednesday, 20 September 2023 04:50 PM

    I am telling you with trust, SLPP is behind majority of this crime wave. Uddika premarathna shooting is the evidence.

    Grace Wednesday, 20 September 2023 05:21 PM

    A country where government politicians feel they are above the law, is not a suitable country for decent people to live . That is also a reason many professionals are seeking to take permanent residency in foreign countries

    Terrence K Wednesday, 20 September 2023 05:50 PM

    We need an IGP to be appointed immediately otherwise these crimes will continue. The existing IGP knows very well his time is numbered and there is no motive to go all out since he needs to preserve his integrity and be cautious of future repercussions as the ruling politicians in the past hounded the opposition who do not toe their line. So why should the IGP stick his neck on the line he can retire in peace. Motto flow with the current don't swim against the current.! God bless Sri Lanka

    Christo255 Wednesday, 20 September 2023 06:21 PM

    Ranmal kodituwakku a non contender is the most senior SDIG after Deshabandu, but since he has no political friends he will not become IGP. He's young and has a doctorate too.

    Buddhist Wednesday, 20 September 2023 06:38 PM

    While Deshabandu is there underworld will rule the country.

    Tonga Wednesday, 20 September 2023 07:09 PM

    S/DIG Ajith Rohana is best choice for IGP.

    Ron Wednesday, 20 September 2023 08:30 PM

    Gun crime is happening almost every now and then it have to be stopped before its get bad to worse government must bring very effective gun law to have a firearms people who have guns must hand over with effective deadline given no question ask or taken any details for handing over the must have proper gun law to hold firearms if anyone cought with guns without license will have to pay massive fines plus time in behind bars those who wished to have recreation license should be taken to count with required guns not high powerd firearms this will minimize or eventually will stop daily shootings

    Parakrama Wednesday, 20 September 2023 09:38 PM

    Easter cover up IGP is the necessity to save face of top and highest offices

    Ranjan Silva Thursday, 21 September 2023 03:01 AM

    Gun crime is perhaps politically motivated by the 'down south family'. Consequence of this is budding tourism industry can be hit once again. This, impotent government must shed it shackles and impartially bring these thugs and drug peddlers to justice- just like Singapore. As an example, if the government passes a law that says if one is caught with an unlicensed firearm he/she will face mandatory death sentence!


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