Justice Minister, Police Commission slam Mudalige’s claims against cops
While the Police are yet to deny the recent allegations levelled by Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF) Convenor Wasantha Mudalige that certain Police officers including an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) have threatened him with death during his detention under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, the Ministry of Justice, Prisons Affairs and Constitutional Reforms and the National Police Commission (NPC) have made critical comments regarding Mudalige’s revelations.
When queried regarding the allegations made by Mudalige, subject Minister, President’s Counsel (PC) Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who joined the Derana 360 programme on Monday (6), said: “This is what one person says, isn’t it? We don’t know if what he says is true or not. It is the Police that should respond to these allegations, but the Police officers can’t come and speak like we do. Therefore, we can ask them to look into this matter and respond. We shall do it. Also, if the Police wanted to do what happened to Wijeweera (a reference to slain Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Leader Rohana Wijeweera), they could have done it. These are being told as it was not done. If he was in their custody, and if they (the Police) have said that they could do that, then they could have done it, but they didn’t do so, did they?” Speaking further, he said that he had never seen, met or spoken to Mudalige, and that he would never accept that what Mudalige claimed was true. However, he said that steps could be taken to look into the credibility of such claims. When he was told by the media that Mudalige had claimed that the Police could not kill him when they (the Police) had taken him (Mudalige) to the bank of the Kelani River near by Paththini Devala premises in Nawagamuwa due to the Police officer who had been deployed for the security of the said Devala premises, Dr. Rajapakshe said that if any injustice had been done to Mudalige, the latter could go to the Supreme Court and initiate necessary legal proceedings.
Meanwhile, The Daily Morning queried NPC Chairman and former Inspector General of Police, Chandra Fernando as to whether the NPC or the Police would consider any disciplinary action against the Police officers against whom the allegations have been levelled by Mudalige. In response to the query, he said: “A complaint should reach us to initiate any action. However, when some damage is caused to someone, they say various sensational things to escape from it. It is said that he was taken to an unrelated Police Station (the Enderamulla Police Station). In that case, the Police can take a suspect to any Police station in the country. It is best if they can be taken to the relevant Police station, but, there are certain times when the Police may have to take suspects to other Police stations for various reasons such as security concerns. During the investigations, the Police can take the suspects to any location but the Police should also be able to assign reasons as to why a suspect was taken to a particular location. I am not trying to protect the Police, but this is the truth. The people should understand these things.” When queried about the fact that Mudalige has mentioned the names and ranks of the Police officers in question and the exact dates and times, and the locations to which he was taken by the Police, Fernando said: “That is the way they make out the allegations to be authentic. It is only then that the people will believe them. He says that he was taken to a River bank, so what has happened to him? There has been no harm to him. If any such incident happened for real, he (Mudalige) should have gone to the Police and taken necessary action instead of speaking to the public.” The Daily Morning questioned him as to why the Police cannot initiate legal action if Mudalige, as he claims, made any baseless allegation against the Police, to which he said: “In the past few months, the people were making allegations against me (public criticism against him following his visit to the Bandaranaike International Airport when former Finance Minister and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Founder Basil Rajapaksa returned to the country from the United States). Some Parliamentarians said that I should be dragged out of the office. Isn’t it an injustice caused to me? But, I didn’t go to seek justice for what happened to me.”
Meanwhile, when queried about Dr. Rajapakshe’s statement, Mudalige told the media that it is not a statement that should be taken into account. “The people know about how he worked in all the previous governments and about his statements. The people also know about the statements he made about Governments when he did not get the privileges that he wanted. The problem we faced has been publicised through the media. We have no reason to create lies. We are raising these matters because there is a serious problem regarding justice in this country. Therefore, Dr. Rajapakshe can investigate and prove that this did not happen, while we are ready to prove that it did happen.”
Several attempts to contact the Police Media Spokesman, Senior Superintendent of Police and Attorney-at-Law Nihal Thalduwa proved futile.
Mudalige levelled several allegations against the Police on 2 February, claiming that certain Police officers, including an ASP attached to the Peliyagoda Police Station, had threatened to kill him like Wijeweera and actor-turned-politician Vijaya Kumaratunga when he was arrested in August 2022, along with Inter-University Bhikkhu’ Federation Convenor, Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thera and IUSF activist Hashan Jeewantha. Mudalige claimed that the Police officers including the ASP in question had covered him, Siridhamma Thera and Jeewantha with cloths and taken them to several locations such as the Enderamulla Police Station, a Police quarters in Colombo Fort, and the Paththini Devala premises in Nawagamuwa, which had no connection with the related investigations.