The Supreme Court has granted leave to proceed in a fundamental rights petition case relating to the alleged assault of a technology student by police personnel and members of the family of a Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP).
The petition has been filed by Nipuna Dhanushka Ramanayake of the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), Malabe.
In his petition, Mr. Ramanayake states that on or about August 21 he stopped with a friend, Mr. Senevirathne, at a Malambe boutique called Sunrich for a cup of tea. In the boutique was a fellow SLIIT student, Ravindu Gunawardena.
Mr. Ramanayake claims that Ravindu Gunawardena had, for no apparent reason, banged against his shoulder and pointed him out to a group of persons present. These persons were later identified as police constables in civvies.
As Mr. Ramanayake and his friend were walking away from the boutique, a police Jeep (number plate No GC-0343) halted and several persons carrying firearms jumped out of the vehicle, abused the two young men, and then bundled the petitioner, Mr. Ramanayake, into the jeep. Student Senevirathne immediately called the police hotline 119 and reported what had happened. The entry was later recorded by the Athurugiriya Police.
Student Ramanayake says he was blindfolded and thrown to the floor of the Jeep and assaulted. He overheard two of the Jeep occupants saying he was being taken to the Pitugal junction.
According to the petition, defendant Ravindu Gunawardena then got into the jeep and assaulted Mr. Ramanayake with the butt of a revolver.
Mr. Ramanayake was next taken to the Gunawardena residence, in Dehiwala, where he claims he was further assaulted by Gunawardena’s mother, Shyamali P. Perera. Mr. Ramanayake identified the woman as the mother of Ravindu Gunawardena, after hearing her say that if she had known “beggars like this attended the SLIIT”, she would never have sent her son to the same school.
The petitioner was then taken in the Jeep to the Borella Police Station, where Colombo Crimes Division SSP Vass Gunawardena, father of Ravindu Gunawardena, joined the parties in the vehicle. The Jeep proceeded to Dematagoda, to SSP Gunawardena’s office at the Colombo Crimes Division headquarters, where the petitioner claims he was assaulted yet again.
Mr. Ramanayake says SSP Gunawardena compelled him to sign a statement, which he readily did, hoping he would then be released from police custody. He was released only when his parents arrived at the police station. He was then taken to the accident ward of the National Hospital where he was treated for multiple injuries. The injuries were inflicted by police personnel, Ravindu Gunawardena and Gunawardena’s mother, Shyamali P. Perera, the petition states. Mr. Ramanayake is seeking compensation of Rs. 100 million.
The respondents cited in the fundamental rights petition are: SSP Gunawardena of the Colombo Crimes Division; K. I. Pushpakumara, SI Agalawatta; P. D Priyankara de Silva, PC, Katugastota; Y. M. Lakshman Thilakarathne, Huannuge; D. M. S Sandun Dissanayake, Welimada; H. M. Nandana Jayalath Sumanadasa, Padiyathalawa; H. M. Manjula Pashpakumara, Keppitipola; Shantha Lalith Vithana, Dodangoda; V. Ruvira Chandima Tissa, Godakawela; Atapattuge Gamini Sanathchandra, Kotavehera; P. B. D Shyamal Dayawansha, Polpithigama; Ananda P. P. Sanjeewa, Katuwana; D. M. Rangana Kelum Dissanayake, Kapugoda; Ravindu Gunawardena, Dehiwala; Shyamali P. Perera, Dehiwala; Jayantha Wickramaratne, Inspector General of Police, and the Attorney-General.