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K’gala residents to complain to IGP, HRCSL against BMICH Police

K’gala residents to complain to IGP, HRCSL against BMICH Police

16 Nov 2023 | BY Buddhika Samaraweera

  • Claim denied entry to hand over appeals to RTI Comm. 
  • Accuse Police of acting on RTI Comm. DG’s request 

A group of residents of the Kurunegala area and the Young Journalists' Association of Sri Lanka (YJASL) are to lodge complaints with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) against the Police Station at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo and the Right to Information (RTI) Commission, for allegedly blocking them from handing over a set of RTI appeals to the Commission yesterday (15).

A group of people whose houses have been damaged during the construction of the Central Expressway had made information requests to the Road Development Authority (RDA), Maga Engineering Private Limited, and the Police, seeking information pertaining to the relevant assessments carried out on their house damages as well as the process of compensating them. As there had been no proper response, a group of about 100 residents in the area had come to hand over RTI appeals to the Commission yesterday.

Speaking to The Daily Morning, Sanjeewa Kulathilake, who was among the residents, said that Police officers had been deployed around the RTI Commission that is located at the BMICH premises. "None of us were allowed to enter the BMICH premises. The Officer-in-charge (OIC) of the Police Station at the BMICH said that it was the Commission that requested them to not allow us to enter the premises. The Commission had then informed the Police to send all the appeals through two persons, but that is something which is against the RTI Act," he said.

Meanwhile, a group of representatives of the YJASL including its Convenor Shalika Wimalasena and President Tharindu Iranga Jayawardhana had visited the BMICH's Police Station to inquire about the incident. Wimalasena told The Daily Morning that the OIC had informed them that he (OIC) had no personal issue with those who had come to hand over appeals, but that he had acted according to the request made by the Commission. "The OIC showed us a letter sent by the Commission's Director General (DG). They have no right to prevent anyone from visiting the Commission to hand over appeals."

He further said that those who wished to hand over appeals, as well as the YJASL, would lodge complaints with IGP Chandana D. Wickramaratne and the HRCSL against the Police and the RTI Commission over the incident.

The Commission was not available for comment.

Earlier, during an appeal hearing related to an information request made to the RDA on 2 November, the group of people who requested the relevant information held a protest against the Chairman of the RTI Commission, retired Supreme Court Justice Upali Abeyratne.

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