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Sri Lanka telecom minister ticks off Police

ECONOMYNEXT – The conduct of Sri Lanka’s police chief will be raised at the Cabinet following allegations that he was preventing the arrest of officers allegedly responsible for the death of a 29-year-old man at Embilipitiya, a minister said today.

Telecommunications minister Harin Fernando said he was under the impression that police had arrested two senior officers in line with an order by the Embilipitiya magistrate and was surprised to learn Monday that it was not so.

"I will bring this to the notice of the prime minister and other senior ministers," Fernando told reporters in Colombo when questioned on why police did not arrest its own men while Yoshitha Rajapaksa had been arrested.

The minister, the youngest in the cabinet and a firebrand speaker of the United National Party (UNP), accused the country’s first fully-independent police commission too of failing to deliver.

He said the police commission had failed to inspire public confidence with its lackadaisical attitude towards dealing with police abuses.

Fernando was unaware why Inspector General Illangakoon was not executing the magisterial order to arrest the Embilipitiya ASP Dharmaratne and Inspector Dias who have been named as suspects in the killing of Sumith Jayawardene in January.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe last week slammed the media for giving wide coverage to the magistrate’s order to arrest police while allegedly playing down conduct of BBS monk Galagoda Aththai Gnanasara who caused a rumpus iat another court.

Political sources said the IGP may have drawn inspiration from the Prime Minister’s speech in parliament which appeared to endorse the police excesses although the premier had vowed he will not protect any wrong doers.

Monk Gnanasara and his followers attacked police, grabbed their caps and verbally abused them when army officers accused of abducting cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda were brought to the Homagama court last week.

There too, the police delayed arresting Gnanasara by 24 hours despite a court order to detain him immediately.





In the Embilipitya case, the entire local police station stand accused of causing the death of 29-year-old Jayawardena early last month after party goers refused alcohol for a police mobile patrol.

The IGP has declined to order the arrest of his men despite the court order last week.

Illangakoon has denied allegations that he was protecting the officers because they had done personal favours for him when he was in the STF. (COLOMBO, Feb 1, 2016)



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