Senior police officers led by the notorious Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon paid a call on the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya temple in Kandy on Thursday, begging the influential monk to save them from litigation over the Easter Sunday attacks in April 2019.
The team of senior police officers, broke quarantine laws and violated inter-provincial travel restrictions to visit the temple. They went in uniform, and used their official vehicles to make the trip to beg reprieve. They have also visited other Chief monks in Anuradhapura.
The officers claimed that the Presidential Commission that investigated the Easter Sunday attacks had held that police officers in charge of the regions where the attacks took place were criminally negligent for failing to prevent the bombings.
SDIG Tennakoon told the Chief Prelate that neither the Government nor the Defence Ministry had provided clear instruction to the police about the intelligence received regarding the terror attacks before they took place. SDIG Tennakoon said that the charges against senior cops in the Commission report could affect their pension and retirement perks. “This will be a huge blow to the morale of the police in the country,” he told the chief monk.
SSP Sisila Kumara Herath told reporters in Kandy that the situation is such that police officers who were on duty during the terror attacks were being held responsible for failure to prevent the bombings.
‘We are here to appeal to the Mahanayake Thero to prevent any injustice being caused to us police officers because this affects us in the long run,” he said.
It was shocking that the police had gone to the Buddhist monks for clemency, instead of appealing to the court system if there was an injustice perpetrated against them by a PCoI.
Former member of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Ambika Satkunanathan tweeted: “In a supposed democracy, the police appeal to Buddhist clergy to influence govt to escape legal consequences for their (in)action. Illustrates influence of Buddhist clergy/Sinhala Buddhist nationalism on government, politicization of police and sense of impunity and entitlement of police.”