2 March, 2024


Police Commission Must Investigate Riot Police Attack On Students: AHRC

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has today condemned the police brutal attack on students who were engaged in a protest march organised by the Inter Student Collective for the Protection of Higher National Diploma in Accountancy (HNDA).

Prof. Siri Hettige - Chairman of the Police Commission

Prof. Siri Hettige – Chairman of the Police Commission

Issuing a statement the AHRC said; “Now that the National Human Rights Commission and the National Police Commission, have been appointed, it is their duty to conduct a thorough inquiry into this particular incident and take appropriate action against those who have violated the law.”

“What is even more important is, to lay down rules relating to the engagement of Riot Police, with the view to stop the kind of conduct of the Riot Police, as was witnessed during the previous regime.” the AHRC further said.

We publish below the statement in full;

The Asian Human Rights Commission is seriously concerned about the attack by the on the students of Inter Student Collective for the Protection of the Higher National Diploma in Accountancy (HNDA), who have gathered to present a petition to the Minister of Higher Education at the University Grants Commission, in Colombo yesterday, 29th October 2015.

According to the spokesperson for the Students Collective, a group of around 500 students had gathered at the University Grants Commission, at Ward Place in Colombo and have requested a meeting with the Minster of Higher Education Lakshman Kiriella to present a Petition and to discuss about the status of the Diploma Course that they have been following. Initially, they were promised a meeting with the Minister of Higher Education but within minutes, they were asked to disperse, by a group of officer from The Riot Police who have used water cannons with tear gas to disperse the students. The students complained that even after they dispersed the riot police followed them and continued to brutally assault them.

A large number of photographs have appeared in the media that show the manner in which, these students have been dispersed and also showing the police attacking some students. The student leaders also complained that 39 students have been taken away by the riot police, and their whereabouts are not known. Despite of repeated inquiries as to the whereabouts of these students, their families have not been able to obtain any information.

According to information available so far, the following questions arise, regarding this incident;

  1. What made the University Grant Commission authorities, call for the riot police to disperse the gathering of students who have come to express a legitimate grievance, to Minister of Higher Education?
  2. Was it not the duty of the security authorities of the University Grants Commissions well as the officers of the local police stations to provide protection to the students who were exercising their constitutional rights?
  3. Was there any role at all, for the Riot Police, on an occasion such as this?
  4. In any case, what procedure did the Riot Police follow, before the use of tear gas and otherwise use of force, against the students?
  5. Why did the Riot Police pursue the students and attack them, even after they have dispersed?
  6. What was the manner in which the Riot Police conduct the arrests of the students; were each of the students arrested, informed about the reason for their arrest, and about their right for protection while under arrest, including their right to receive the help of a lawyer?
  7. Did the arresting police officers inform anyone, as to where the arrested students have been taken and are being held?

All this and many more very fundamental questions have arisen about the conduct of the Riot Police on this occasion. Given, the record of the Riot Police’s behaviour during the recent past, particularly during the period of the last government, a credible inquiry needs to be conducted by the Government on the behaviour of the Riot Police on this occasion. In the recent past the Riot Police have on many occasions acted in a violent manner and there were reports of even incidents of shooting which resulted in the death of some persons. During the last elections, the Opposition which is now in Government, publicised such events as manifestations of violence used on citizens by the former regime.

The Asian Human Rights Commission is of the view that time has come for a serious review of the manner in which the Riot Police is deployed and what the Riot Police does when they are so deployed.

To participate in peaceful protest is a constitutional right in Sri Lanka, it is also a right recognised under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of which Sri Lanka is a signatory. When the citizens engage in a protest, the duty of the police is to provide protection for the protestors. However, this notion of protecting a peaceful assembly of citizens has been lost in the previous years, where, every protestor has been treated as an ‘enemy of the state’.

Now that the National Human Rights Commission and the National Police Commission, have been appointed, it is their duty to conduct a thorough inquiry into this particular incident and take appropriate action against those who have violated the law.

What is even more important is, to lay down rules relating to the engagement of Riot Police, with the view to stop the kind of conduct of the Riot Police, as was witnessed during the previous regime.

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Latest comments

  • 5

    Hope the idiots fom Poice will be apprehended and charged.

    The guys have no cue about crowd control.

    Police IGP should come out and explain what happened.

    • 5

      Where is the IGP ? he must take the full responsibility of this brutal attack on unarmed students . if that happens , next time IGP will be very careful sending Riot police to control the student protests . those who attacked non violent female students must be sent to jail , those animals still believe they have the full protection from the higher ups. SL police needs urgent reforms , they must be taught to respect the civilians’ fundamental rights , peaceful protest is a fundamental right of any citizen of this country.

      • 0

        Police in Central Colombo are totally corrupt and criminal. In the Miracle of Modayas, the politicians who are supposed to be law makers and the police who are supposed to be guardians of the law are the biggest law breakers.

        Ranil and Srisisena provide impunity and immunity for corrupt and criminal politicians.

        Meanwhile, Police are also engaged in a tree cutting and timber business from all public and state lands including Vihara Maha Devi Park, the National archives and Art Gallery and Independency square and Nelum Pokuna area..

        Colombo’s high tree canopy has been systematically destroyed while the so called environmental police are asleep on the job at Cinnamon Gardens police station.

    • 0

      [Edited out]

    • 1

      New found little piece of Democracy in the country had been violated by the brutality of the forces.
      Are we still living under the Mafia in cookoo Land ? thinking the Law is right in terrorising the citizens of Srilanka.

      Why the people the people are allowing the DEMOCRACY BEING VIOLATED BY THE THUGGISH BEHAVIOUR OF THE FORCES.

  • 0

    Our Police has no idea about crowd control but the people behind such protests have very good control over them. These stupid robots become just remote controlled pieces in a battle of political chess.

    I think like in MR’s time they should send thugs to beat them up and let the Police just watch. That way, there is no one to blame or at least no one that can be caught. People know that thugs are thugs and do not respect HR.

  • 1

    The armed forces and the police have treated citizens without regard to their basic civil rights. They have become a pack of brutal thugs. The conflict between the students and the police goes back in history. It started long before the JVP uprisings, in Peradeniya. In the old days, the assumption was that the police would not enter the campus. But, that assumption was given up around 1970 when the police entered and bashed up the heads of the students. After the JVP uprisings, there was further brutalization of the army and the police. 70,000 young Sinhalese were killed and no account made as to how this happened. It is that same brutalization that was used against the Tamils during successive episodes of armed violence against them. The only way to cleanse this violence of the deep state within Sri Lanka is to hold the trials that are mandated by the Human Rights Council. Accountability is necessary in Sri Lanka and is good for all the people, both Sinhalese and Tamils. Otherwise, we have to live with these two killing machines that could be unleashed on the people by the politicians in power. We must institute a system of liability of the political masters who control the army and the police as well as of the members of the armed forces who resort to violence with absolute hatred.

  • 4

    No need for investigations. We are Democratic and “Yaha” and America’s Friend!!

    All these democratic actions by police and government are carried out with Human Rights Manuals in one hand and batons in the other, with the blessings of Batalanda Ranil and YahaPolonnaruwa Man !

    It is fault of students for protesting. Protest is not a democratic right.

  • 2

    Police takes an upper hand probably at the request of Kiriella.
    And now AHRC takes the upper hand to dictate what should be done to Siri Hettige and the NPC………

    Its Haloween time and AHRC & of course basil F’do is hidding within a Pumpkin to frightend Siri Hettige with their dictum.

    All should know that it is anathema to the Batalanda man it comes to students.

    So…………. the yahapalanaya following the American way of dealing with matters. be it Blacks or Students, american action.

  • 0

    This is a massive surprise.

    Yahapalana police beating up these students, is unreal.

    Specially in light of the efforts of these Colombo Uni students and their FUTA mentors for Batalanda Ranil to become the PM.

    We know FUTA and BASL bosses were appointed to senior posts in Yahapalanaya.

    Perhaps Batalanda Rani didn’t get the AHRC dudes even as advisers, although they also did a a yeoman service to Batalanda and his new mate Bodhi Sira as well.

    • 2

      MR got thrown out by people’s votes but the para-military and para-police dogs that MR trained as his minders were left behind in the services. They still respond to MR’s click of fingers, and I very much think that is what we have observed.

      We will wait and see what Batalanda Ranil and the Polonnaruwa Man are going to do about this; if they did nothing and left these thugs and their chief intact with their jobs, then we know you are right. If wrong, let us hope that the real police dogs will sniff out who the fountain of this mischief was.

  • 1

    People serve in the Police Department are worst than killer dogs who simply carryout master’s order. People should understand that they do not understand morality, lacks insight would carry out any order comes from the top. Go and Premadasa Udugampola who killed a large number of youth and now suffers insomnia and constant fear of retribution for the serious crimes he had committed against humanity.

    • 1

      Democracy should be established , these forces mad dogs should be incaserated from the forces as they cause fear psychosis among the public to subdue and surrender , thus the Humans , Rights are violated.
      The government should not follow the old path and let the forces damage the image of the country.

      Where are we heading under Yahapalanaya.??these are cancerous practices carried on for decades.

      The uneducated and educated mad dogs are given power and ammunitions in the name of LAW AND ORDER TO CAUSE MAXIMUM DAMAGE TO HUMANS .


  • 1

    The articles starts: “The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has today condemned the………” What the article is really saying is that Basil Fernando …..has today condemned the…….”

    And this is very interesting because the AHRC and Basil Fernando are quick to condemn the authorities in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and the Philippines but are somewhat reluctant to condemn anything closer to home that might damage their ivory tower.

    Basil spent years condemning the lack of accountability by the authorities of these countries but when faced with the wrong doings of his very own executive director Basil chose to remain silent.

    In view of this, I find it impossible to take anything he says with any sense of sincerity.

    Clean up your own house Basil before pointing the finger elsewhere.

    • 2

      I wonder who is screwing up who. Sounds like some stirring up going on . Very fishy , fishy, Bonsa and the gangs in the police stirring up to cause civil disturbance ,
      Medamulana ‘ s sit back and watch saying Yahapalanaya at it’s worst..
      The criminals are at its best. M!m! M! Scratch scratch nod! nod! Find the elements behind this mess.

    • 1

      John Stewart Sloan…………. It seems you don’t get it.
      Basil & his Executive Director who are NGOs, selling their Countries for their supper share the same plate.

      So, what could you expect……………????????????
      As they scratch each others back for their comforts…….

      NGOs can never clean up their acts.

  • 1

    This was the style if I can remember practised against any kind of demonstration in the North in the 60s to 70s long before the start of the war nor BEFORE the insurrection of the LTTE.
    The INNOCENT protesters were made as monsters and they were beaten savagely and killed too under the pretext that they were terrorists by the Racist Police and the Army.
    Even the public library was burnt down by the Racists Army and the Police forces.
    The more the public keeps quiet these brutal attacks by the Forces can continue and the word DEMOCRACY would be destroyed by this act of VIOLENCE BY THE POLICE.
    First and foremost a panel should investigate who the culprits were.
    Were these students OR the Police force were instigated by the troublemakers ?? My first suspicion falls against Medamulanas.
    Why the President keeps mum ? Find who is behind this.
    The country should not go down the path of DESTRUCTION OF DEMOCRACY.

  • 1

    Somebody should also investigate the problems caused to the public, traffic issues, waiting time etc. This should be part of the TOR for commission of inquiry

  • 0

    A female student assaulted on the head with a baton, is reported to be seriously ill, in hospital.
    Policemen who assaulted students with batons can be identified from the many video recordings on the web.
    Have they been asked to show cause why they should not be disciplinarily dealt with, if not interdicted, for using excessive force on unarmed students who were not threatening anyone?
    The IGP should clarify.
    If he does not do so satisfactorily, he should be sent on compulsory leave, along with the policemen concerned, pending the results of inquiry by the Police Commission.

    Too many citizens have died, been assaulted, tortured and raped, while in police custody, and a sense of impunity has resulted.
    The newly appointed Police commission must show the nation, that it has the power and the desire to cleanse the police force of undesirables.

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