Crash, bang: Those beyond the law

Security escorts and an official of the Ministry of Defence travelling in a private coach sped past a checkpoint knocking down barriers last Thursday and later assaulted a Police Sergeant and a soldier who gave chase and apprehended them, Police and civilians told The Sunday Times.

The Army-Police checkpoint at Badagamuwa, near Kurunegala located along the road that passes through a grove of jak trees, had been alerted by Police emergency (119) to be vigilant. This was after a phone call from a resident in the area. This checkpoint, located three kilometres from Kurunegala town, was told that a group of armed men in civilian clothes were in a private coach that was speeding towards that town.

In view of the warning, police and army personnel at the checkpoint had been on alert. When the private coach knocked down the barriers and sped past, the sergeant and the soldier had given chase in a motor cycle. At the level crossing ahead of the Kurunegala town the duo had stopped their motor cycle in front of the coach.

When they began questioning those in the bus, the two of them had been forced into the bus. They had been assaulted inside the bus whilst it proceeded to the Kurunegala Police Station. At the Police Station, according to complaints recorded there, the sergeant and the soldier have been further assaulted in front of the Headquarters Inspector Saman Wickremanayake.

At the Police station, the Defence Ministry official identified himself as Co-ordinating Secretary Mithra Gankanda.A senior Police official in Kurunegala who spoke on grounds of anonymity said Headquarters Inspector Wickremanayake had made entries not only to confirm the assault on the soldier and the policeman but also to say that he was abused in filth.

According to the official, the soldier and the sergeant had been told to appear at the Ministry of Defence last Friday. Only the HQI and the Police Sergeant had presented themselves. The senior police official said the two were advised not to provide any information on the incident to the media.

Deputy Inspector General of Police for North Western Province, Jayantha Jayasinghe, Senior Superintendent of Police for Kurunegala Dayananda Bandara and Police Spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara said they were unaware of the incident.

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