By Mass L. Usuf –
Much has been talked about both locally and internationally, about the attack on the UNHCR shelter in Mount Lavinia by a gang of thugs led by men in robes. Following this cowardly attack, they heroically claimed that they had smoked out Rohingya terrorists hiding in Sri Lanka. They did smoke out indeed, but, whom? A frightened group of speechless and terrified nine men, seven women and 16 children.
These were people who had been taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Navy for entering our territorial waters. The Navy had provided them with whatever humanitarian assistance they needed and handed them over to the Kankesanthurai Police on 30.04.2017. The legal process took effect and the Mallakkam Magistrate ordered that they be handed over to the UNHCR. They were subsequently housed at the Mirihana detention camp by the UNHCR pending onward transfer to a host country. Up to this point, Sri Lanka was a democracy with the rule of law in full effect. Up to this point, all those involved displayed that innate quality of what is called humanity. Up to this point, all those involved did their part without racial or religious prejudices. Up to this point, all those involved showed concern and empathised with these innocent people fleeing for their life. Among them was a pregnant woman who later delivered her baby while in custody. Up to this point, all behaved in a civilised and noble manner.
Then comes the fringe elements who begin to play their evil role. While in the camp a young girl was raped by a Policeman attached to the camp. Any one may question, who would rape a young girl who has come as a refugee seeking your protection? Well, this Policeman did it. A case No. B/2030/17 is now pending at the Gangodawila Magistrate Court. Obviously, the state of affairs dictated that these people cannot be kept their anymore. Fearing for their security and protection, the UNHCR as a responsible organisation, with the concurrence of the court and the Police decided to house them in Mount Lavinia.
When these grief-stricken people were in their new abode, staring at a hopeless and empty future, trouble strikes them again. A bunch of pussies stormed the UNHCR shelter followed by a tumultuous mob. Colombo Telegraph on 29 September 2017 carried the story along with two videos. Besides, the abused hurled at the Policeman, some lawyers opinionated that many laws have been violated by these thugs. Focussing only on the Penal Code, one may consider the following:
1. Abetting, Section 102;
2. Conspiracy, Section 113A;
3. Promoting ill will and hostility, Section 120;
4. Unlawful assembly, Sections 140 and 148;
5. Wanton provocation to riot, Section 150;
6. Obstructing a Public Officer, Section 183;
7. Utterances wounding religious feelings, Section 291A;
8. Deliberate acts to outrage religious feelings, Section 291B;
9. Criminal trespass, Section 433;
10. Intentional insult to provoke a breach of the peace, Section 484;
11. Making false statement breaching public tranquillity, Section 485;
It is known to the Police that amongst this unlawful crowd was a notorious person against whom there is a pending criminal case No. B/3720/16 in the Fort Magistrate’s Court. His name is Dan Priyasad and the video carried by the Colombo Telegraph clearly shows his behaviour. He was earlier remanded and bailed out on strict conditions especially not to engage in unlawful activities that would endanger peace and harmony in the country. Subsequent to his been enlarged on conditional bail, there have been several instances where complaints had been made against him to the Police. The following list provides the details:
1. Complaint made on 26/05/2017 – CIB No. II 22/91
2. Complaint made on 01/06/2017 – CIB No. II 35/100
3. Complaint made on 14/08/2017 – CIB No. III 60/14
4. Complaint made on 14/08/2017 – CIB No. III 63/15
5. Complaint made on 14/08/2017 – CIB No. III 66/16
6. Complaint made on 20/09/2017 – CIB No. III 82/19
7. Complaint made on 26/09/2017 – CIB No. III 277/272
Rule Of Law
The Bail Act No 30 of 1997 under Section 14 provides the circumstances when court may refuse bail or cancel a subsisting order for release.
14. (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the preceding provisions of this Act, ………… or upon application being made in that behalf by a police officer, and after issuing notice on the person concerned and hearing him personally or through his attorney-at-law, cancel a subsisting order releasing such person on bail if the court has reason to believe:
(a) that such person would:
(i) not appear to stand his inquiry or trial;
(ii) interfere with the witnesses or the evidence against him or otherwise obstruct the course of justice; or
(iii) commit an offence while on bail; or
(b) that the particular gravity of, and public reaction to, the alleged offence may give rise to public disquiet.
From the wordings of Section 14, it is clear that the cancellation of bail is not automatic upon the occurrence of events stated in 14 (a) (i) to (iii) and 14 (b). The Section requires the Police to make an application. In the current context, if the Police has initiated investigations on the seven complaints made as listed above, it can make this application under 14 (a) (iii) viz. “commit an offence while on bail” and 14(b). In addition, the recent attack on the UNHCR safe house provides overwhelming evidence of the possible violation of at least eleven offences of the Penal Code.
For some reason best known to the Police the complaints are all in an indeterminate state. The consequence of which is an increased sense of impunity clearly seen in the violation of the several laws by this person. Far worst, the unabating incitement of hatred and violence. The results of which could trigger widespread riots causing chaos and instability in the country as a whole.
The entire nation is at stake and the damaged done already by these pussies targeting the UNHCR shelter has brought much disrepute to Sri Lanka. Condemnations were expressed by the UN, world leaders and the unpleasant news splashed internationally in all the media. It is imperative on the Police and the judiciary to take cognisance of this evolving serious situation. Arrest the men in robe and their cowardly cohorts and bring them to justice.
The call is to establish the Rule of Law without fear or favour.