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Sexual assault allegation against SDIG

  • Victim writes to Prez requesting prompt inquiry

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Legal representatives of Mishara Ranasinghe, who was allegedly attacked, including sexually, by former Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) in charge of the Sabaragamuwa Province Ranmal Kodituwakku, on 25 October, in a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has requested him to direct the relevant authorities to conduct an independent and impartial inquiry into the matter promptly, thereby taking legal actions against all suspects involved in the said incident.

Kodituwakku was transferred to the Medical Services, Welfare, and Field Force Division Headquarters of the Police in the wake of the said incident.

In the letter, the legal representatives further stated that Kodituwakku is culpable of several offences under the provisions of the Constitution, the Penal Code, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Act, No. 22 of 1994 and the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act, No. 4 of 2015, and therefore, is unsuitable to remain in service while an inquiry is being conducted into the said incident.

In the letter, the legal representatives of the victim have informed the President that their client has been grossly assaulted, physically and sexually tortured, and harassed by Kodituwakku and two other police officers. “We are further informed that several other officers too were involved in the matter. However, our client is unaware of their names and ranks,” the letter read.

Claiming that what is mentioned in the letter is not a full narration of the entirety of the events that had transpired, the legal representatives have stated in the letter that Ranasinghe is deeply desirous to make a full narration before an impartial inquiry into the incident.

According to the letter, Ranasinghe has been travelling towards Panadura from Ratnapura and he had overtaken a blue coloured jeep travelling in the same direction. When he stopped for a pedestrian at a pedestrian crossing a few minutes thereafter, the said jeep had overtaken Ranasinghe and parked ahead of his vehicle in the middle of the road. “Thereafter, three uniformed officers had alighted from the said vehicle, proceeded towards Ranasinghe, opened the door of the vehicle, and physically attacked and assaulted him without any reason. The first officer who opened the door of Ranasinghe’s vehicle and assaulted him has been identified as Kodituwakku.”

In the letter, they have further claimed that Ranasinghe had then been forcibly taken to the Kiriella Police Station, with one police officer getting into the front passenger seat of his vehicle. “Thereafter, he has been forcefully taken out of the vehicle by five police officers, and instead of either taking a statement at the Police Station or remanding him in the cell, he has been taken to a room adjacent to the Officer-In-Charge’s room inside the said Police Station. Then the lights were turned off, and we have been instructed to state that, at that stage, there were several police officers including Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASP) who were present at the Police Station.”

The letter further read: “We are instructed that thereafter, to the utter shock, dismay, and disgust of our client, his mobile phone was confiscated, he was stripped naked, and forced to kneel down. The said SDIG who had removed his uniform shirt had assaulted him on his neck, head, stomach, and genitals and the SDIG had pressed his neck with a boot, causing him (Ranasinghe) to lose consciousness. The said SDIG had photographed him while he was naked and proceeded to sexually harass him by pulling his genitals.”

They also claimed that the said SDIG is attempting to communicate with Ranasinghe through various channels in order to dissuade him from exposing the ordeal endured by him. “Ranasinghe fears for his and his immediate family’s safety due to the constant communications by the said SDIG and various other parties to his immediate family,” the letter mentioned.