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Dharga town teen assault: Cops interdicted because they failed to detain autistic kid

ALLEGED ASSAULT – CCTV footage shows Policemen assaulting teenager

ECONOMYNEXT – Police headquarters is confirming that the three police officers involved in the alleged assault of an autistic teen in Dharga town last month have been interdicted because they did not arrest him.

The Police Media Department said that there was “dereliction of duty” on the part of the three officers because they did not detain the 16-year old.

“He should have been arrested,” police said because he was wandering around during a curfew.

“A separate internal investigation is being conducted about whether the teenager was assaulted by these officers,” a spokesman said.

The Police department is denying that its officers assaulted the autistic teenager Thariq Ahamed at in the incident which occurred during curfew hours on May 25.

Police said officers used “necessary force to subdue the youth but did not assault him.”

The release also confirmed that the Acting Inspector General of Police Chandana Wickremaratne has ordered the Women and Children’s Bureau of the Police to conduct an independent inquiry into the matter.

The three police officers concerned, a Sub-Inspector, Sergeant and Constable have been suspended from duty.  The SI and Sergeant are from the Police College and the Constable from the Aluthgama Police station.

The CCTV footage of the incident where the 14-year-old autistic boy Thariq Ahamed is seen being attacked by police last month was posted by former MP Ali Zahir Moulana in his official Twitter account.

Police said statements have been taken from the father of the child and Police had taken the CCTV footages of the incident.

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“Currently, the police are waiting for the medical reports of the child after being presented for a medical examination,” Police spokesman Jaliya Senaratne told EconomyNext.

According to Former MP Ali Zahir’s Tweet, Thariq was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was 4 and today, he has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old child.

On 25 May, while curfew was imposed, Thariq had wandered out of his house on his bicycle and had ventured by the Ambagaha Junction in Dharga Town where there was a police checkpoint manned by 6-7 policemen. (Colombo, June 8, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

 

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