Law and Order Minister slams conduct of Police in Kataragama

Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake today slammed the conduct of the Police in Kataragama where a tense situation arose over the weekend.

Ratnayake said that when quelling a tense situation or an unruly demonstration, justifiable force should be used, in strict adherence to operating guidelines, to bring it under control.

However he said it appeared that these fundamentals had not been followed in relation to the incident in Kataragama.

“The Police themselves are subjected to the law,” the Minister said, adding that he communicated his concerns to the Secretary of his Ministry and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) at a special meeting yesterday and directed them to initiate action against those responsible without delay.

“I do not believe that the conduct of certain Police officers in relation to the Kataragama issue is an isolated development. This conduct stems from lack of training and professionalism. If we fail to address the core issue diligently, we will be thrown into similar situations time and time again. Therefore, drastic reforms will be introduced to the Police service, with the support of international experts, in the near future,” he added.

The Police fired tear gas and made several arrests as Kataragama erupted on Sunday following overnight tensions resulting from a shooting incident.

A tense situation arose in Kataragama after the Police shot dead a motorcyclist who ignored orders and failed to stop.

Area residents who were outraged over the shooting attacked the Kataragama police station.

As the situation escalated, the Police fired tear gas towards the unruly crowd. (Colombo Gazette)