An inquiry has commenced into the recent assault of a 14 year-old autistic boy in Dharga Town, Aluthgama by a group of Policemen, the Police said.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police for the Kalutara District Vijitha Gunaratne told the Colombo Gazette that action will be taken against any officers found guilty following the conclusion of the inquiry.
Former Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Parliamentarian Ali Zahir Moulana highlighted the brutal assault and racial profiling of the 14 year old autistic boy in Aluthgama that took place on 25 May.
According to Moulana the autistic teenager had reportedly been brutally assaulted by a group of Policemen and racially profiled by the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of the Nagoda Hospital.
The boy, who has been diagnosed with autism since the age of 4, had ventured into town on 25 May violating the islandiwde curfew that was in effect.
CCTV footage shared by Moulana on social media, shows a group of Policemen interrogating the boy and later dragging him across the road to a checkpoint and repeatedly assaulting him with some bystanders joining in.The officers are then seen tying the boy to a post under a tree behind the checkpoint.
However, the father of the boy who was notified of the incident, had arrived at the checkpoint, and after much pleading and convincing that the boy was autistic, he was permitted to take home his child.
According to the father of the assaulted teenager, the Police had verbally abused him, blaming his negligence to prevent the boy from violating the curfew as the cause for the child’s current situation. He was also fearful of taking the boy to hospital after being reportedly threatened by the Policemen involved in the incident.
Moulana said the boy had suffered a cut on his head, back and arms, along with several bruises all over his body after being assaulted by 8 grown men.
After many failed attempts, the man was able to bring the incident to the attention of the Deputy Inspector General of the Kalutara district, who had ordered the boy to undergo a medical checkup, Moulana said on twitter.
When the child had been taken to the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) at the Nagoda Hospital in Kalutara for the checkup, the latter had reportedly racially profiled the family, stating that their community was the cause for the spread of COVID-19.
The JMO had further, without carrying out a proper checkup, instructed the child to be institutionalised at the National Institute of Mental Health in Angoda, claiming that the child had not taken the necessary medication for weeks.
Coincidentally, the Consultant Physician to whom the child had been referred to was the same who had been treating him over the last few years, and the Doctor, knowing the child’s history, had after a thorough examination had directed the parents to take him home, Ali Zahir Moulana said. (Colombo Gazette)
The news of the brutal assault by police on Thariq Ahamed, a 14 year old autistic boy of Dharga Town, Aluthgama is shocking and the prejudice that ensued after by the Police and the JMO needs to be exposed. Thariq was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder since he was 4..(1) pic.twitter.com/8dd6DVTW8Q
— Ali Zahir Moulana (@alizmoulana) June 4, 2020