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Widow speaks of shocking Sri Lanka police brutality

ECONOMYNEXT- The widow of a man who died during a police assault has given a graphic account of how an "ASP and an HQI" went on the rampage and pushed her husband to his death at Embilipitiya in a case that highlighted police brutality and a massive cover up.

The victim, 29-year-old Sumith Prasanna Jayawardena, had told policemen not to act as "animals" when they started attacking party goers with sticks. That angered the police even more. They dragged Jayawardena upstairs and pushed him down.

"When he fell to the ground, one person (a policeman in civilian clothes) kicked his head," widow Nishamani told reporters in Colombo today. She said she saw her husband being beaten by the police, including the ASP.

ASP D W C Dharmaratna was last week transferred to police headquarters pending an investigation into his role in the incident that caused the death of Jayawardena and wounded many others.

The widow told reporters that she tried to stop her husband from reprimanding the police who were mercilessly assaulting elderly men and women as well as children.

An internal police investigation has shown that there had been a systematic cover up, including the fabrication of evidence to supress the police role in the incident.

The internal investigation has also found that police claims that constables were assaulted by party goers was totally fabricated and worst still there was no loudspeakers disturbing the neighbourhood as claimed by police.

Residents say the fighting started after a police patrol demanded alcohol from the owner of the building who had hosted a party for neighbours on January 4. When refused, police went on the rampage.

Police had also opened fire in the air, a fact that had been suppressed from higher authorities until uncovered by an internal investigations.

Despite the internal investigation recommending action against officers involved, the police Inspector General appeared to be dragging his feet, government sources said.

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They said IGP N. K. Illangakoon’s tenure has seen some of the worst brutality cases and what was shocking was the lack of disciplinary action despite the 19th amendment to the constitution removing political shackles from the police.(COLOMBO, January 20, 2016)
 

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