Sri Lanka police under fire

Three separate articles, all on the Daily Mirror, published on the 14th of august 2009 brings much needed attention to urgent reforms needed within our police force.

Sri Lankans know that torture is a common interrogation technique within the Sri Lankan police force. When you are guilty till proven innocent, the innocent needlessly suffer. Years of violence due to insurgencies, rebellions, and guerrilla warfare, gave the law enforcement authorities on the island the right to do as they pleased. A culture of impunity took shape, and those who work for the law enforcement authorities got away with gross abuses of their authority. Which included murder and abductions.

If you ever get caught speeding in Colombo, then bribing the policemen with just a few hundred Rupees will get you off the hook. It's no secret that corruption is rampant too.

To give these individuals the ability to abduct, torture, and kill, as they please, is to halt Sri Lanka's post war development dead in it's tracks. The police force needs urgent reform and restructure. Money needs to be invested into training and developing methods of interrogation which do not violate basic human rights.

According to the Daily Mirror a police superintendent attached to Gampaha Division was taken into custody by the Terrorist Investigation Division on Wednesday night over alleged involvement in LTTE activities. That report is followed by the arrest of a SSP's son, who used uniformed policemen to abduct and assault a fellow student from a popular IT school.

If that's not bad enough the Daily Mirror also carries a story titled 'Police brutality continues…'

Daily Mirror
It seems that Sri Lanka police are well on the path to make this country Asia’s Somalia and at the rate it is going, there would be very little objections if anybody moves to hand over the task of maintaining law and order to the country’s Army. Barely two weeks have passed since the abduction and brutal assault of a third year student of the IT campus in Malambe allegedly by the CCD head, his family and the members of the CCD when yesterday people in this country heard about an alleged murder of two youths while they were in Angulana police custody.

This is also in the backdrop of a big question mark posed by Senior DIG-Northern Province, Nimal Lewke, on the authenticity of the recent CCD story that it had recovered some claymore mines from Mannar. SDIG Lewke argues that while the CCD maintains that the recovery was made in Mannar he had not heard of anything to that effect and also questions as to how the CCD released the driver of a suspected van they were looking for, just before that.

(Photo courtesy Indi used here under a Creative Commons license.)