The most interesting story in the entire Police Department these days is the meditation programme introduced by IGP Pujith Jayasundara. There are thousands of more other things to be done, but the police now have meditation. Everyone in the police do have to do meditation. The IGP is making inspections himself to find out if his idea is implemented properly. On the 11th of last month he was on an inspection tour of the police headquarters to catch those who don’t do it properly. In the end, it ended up as a joke.
During the inspection, a public servant, who is not a policeman, became the IGP’s victim. Previously, we brought a detailed report on that. The police chief showed the powers of his six-packs to a public servant from the consolidated service, who was doing the job of a lift operator at the CID. He is yet to be given justice for the harassment he underwent at the hand of the IGP. His chief is not the IGP, but the CID’s DIG Ravi Seneviratne. It appears that he too, cannot do anything on behalf of the rights of someone who works under him. However, we cannot just ignore this. All should respect human rights, and human dignity. It is not enough to write books on justice, justice should be done. Therefore, we thought about talking about it again, with the public servant who was victimized by the IGP.
Your name in full?
Abeykoon Mudiyanselage Samarakoon Banda
Where do you work in the police?
At the CID
When did you accept appointment to the CID?
In February 2016
Who is your chief?
Senior DIG Ravi Seneviratne
You are not a policeman. How come you get appointed to the CID?
I was appointed from the consolidated state service as a public servant. I am under the director of the consolidated service.
When did you join the state service?
On 08 December 1986
The first appointment?
To the Auditor General’s Department
When did you retire?
In October this year
Let’s talk about the incident. Do you remember the date?
If I remember correct, it was on the 11th of last month.
I work in the lift. There are two to operate the lift. We work on shifts. One lift is for the ‘sirs’. Others don’t use it. The other can be used by anyone. It is used to take goods too. At 8.30 in the morning, the national anthem is sung. It is followed by the police song. Now, there is a meditation too. Until all these are over, the lift should be parked below. A few constables came. I said the lift is parked and cannot go now. They said everything is over. Then, I got out and let them go. I went to our room, drank some water with the hope of returning for duty. But, the IGP came crying out at the top of his voice. The receptionist too, was reprimanded. She is a policewoman. The filth she was abused with cannot be spoken of. No one abuses a woman like that. He walked all over the place, abusing everyone. Everyone was frightened as to what will happen next. Our sir was not present.
Who is ‘our sir?’
Then, what happened?
Our admin OIC madam came. But, she too, was frightened and took cover behind the telephone box. I saw madam. She signaled me to keep silent. Then, our Amaradeva sir came with the phone at his ear. He too, heard the fuss and avoided it. It was about five minutes to nine. I went to take care of the lift. Then, the IGP asked as to who was working there. I could not say it operates automatically, he ordered me to lower it. Then, I lowered it. I am inside the lift. The IGP grabbed me from my shirt. He got hold of the identity belt, shirt collar and the vest. Even the buttons came off. He grabbed me from one hand and raised the other to strike me. I could not think anything. He raised his hand and said “I will kill you. I will not leave you alone.” It went on like that. Then, he abused that ‘miss’ again. He abused us and went upstairs. I heard that he played hell there too. On the way down, he abused me again, “Be prepared to go home. I know what to do with you.” He abused the other lift operator too, and left. He abused everyone for not doing the meditation.
What did you do next, Samarakoon?
I could not think. I was down mentally. I have been in the public service this long. But, nothing like this happened before. The IGP abused and tried to strike me for no reason. I retire coming October. But, with this incident, I cannot retire with peace of mind. Even today, I do my job, but with my mentality down. I am frightened too.
Didn’t the DIG come to work on that day?
He came. The incident happened before he came.
Did you complain to the DIG?
By the time he arrived, he had already heard about it. He asked me what happened. I complained to him.
What did he say?
He asked me what I was going to do.
What was your answer?
I didn’t say anything. I just told him what had happened.
Was the complaint taken up?
Did you ask about it?
No. I told him what had happened. It is up to them to inquire.
Did you have to face any difficulties later?
After the media carried it, it became known everywhere. Everyone kept asking me. This is the CID and I cannot say who they are. This became a nuisance and our sirs spoke to me and transferred me to the library.
Did anyone intimidate you?
Did the IGP speak again?
You are a public servant. We see that trade unions intervene actively in such matters. But, we did not see any trade union speak about your incident.
I do not belong to any trade union. I mind my own affairs. So far, I did not face any problems. I worked well at every place I worked. Even at the CID office, there were no problems. The IGP abused me for no reason.
Wasn’t mediation done on that day?
Now, meditation has to be done every day. Not just the policemen, but we too, should do it. I heard that he abused me while inspecting if meditation was done properly.
The IGP tries to be the king, demeaning his office, ignoring the human rights of his subordinates and violating the constitution. If the IGP behaves so, what can be expected from the others? It is not fair for Pujith Jayasundara to force on others his passion for Buddhism. The constitution ensures the right to follow a faith of one’s choice. However, no one has been able to rein him in. It is sad to note that even a senior DIG has kept silent over the incident. In a country like this, it is not surprising that human rights continue to get violated.
several media institutions have applied, under the right to information act, for the CCTV footage of the incident. Fourteen days have gone by, but the responsible authorities have taken no action. The head of the CID keeps silent.