Minister of Law & Order Sagala Ratnayaka told Parliament on Tuesday that his Ministry was looking at installing CCTV cameras at police stations and prison departments. He made this statement in response to a declaration by Joint Opposition Parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardena that it was the duty of the police to safeguard a person’s life.
“This is not a case about some robbery; this is a case where a man has lost his life. This is a very serious matter. If a person who is breathing goes into a police station, that same person must leave the police station breathing,” Gunawardena said with reference to the incident where a 30 year old man died while in custody at the Pussellawa Police station over the weekend.
The Joint Opposition Parliamentarian also said that be it Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims, no person should die while in police custody. “We are asking for a special investigation and we
want the culprits to be punished,” he said.
In response, Ratnayaka said that as per regulation, the police must check the condition of an inmate every half an hour. “Usually at any police station from the reserve desk, the police officer can see the inmate in the cell. But at this station, where the reserve desk is located the officer cannot see the cell directly,” he said.
Ratnayaka added that disciplinary action will be taken if the officers were found of any wrongdoing. “I have ordered the police stations and prison department to explore the possibilities of installing CCTV cameras,” the Minister said.
Over the weekend two police officers; a Sub Inspector and a Police Constable attached to the Pussellawa Police Station were suspended after 30 year old Kaviraj Ravichandran from Pussellawa died reportedly from committing suicide by hanging himself in his prison cell using the shirt he was wearing. However, residents fear he may have been tortured to his death by the police.
Meanwhile, a magisterial inquiry will be held on Friday where the Government Analyst will submit the report over the cause of Ravichandran’s death.