The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) is saying that the police failed to take ‘preventive measures’ to stop communal violence in the North-Western Province, Chilaw District, and Minuwangoda Town.
Writing a letter to the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr Deepika Udagama the Chairman of the HRCSL says that many villagers are reported to have sought protection by dialling emergency numbers few hours prior to the attacks and yet the police failed to take necessary measures to prevent the harm.
‘Attacks on certain villages had gone on for several hours including in Hettipola but they had not had the benefit of police, STF or Tri Forces intervention to stop the attacks. The mobs appear to have had a free hand to engage in the destruction of the Mosques, homes, vehicles and other property of the villagers. On the other hand, in Bandara Koswatte, the mob attacked the main mosque despite Police and Army presence.’ it said.
The HRCSL further notes that although bail to those who incite racial and religious violence can only be granted by the High Court, the police have released some suspects on police bail.
‘This very problematic situation is compounded by allegations of political interference,’ it added.
The HRCSL is, therefore, urging the Police Department to grant equal protection of the law to all citizens and ensure that no political or other external interventions are tolerated.