A Sri Lankan police constable attached to the Maharagama police department has been arrested following an assault on a Tamil lorry driver in Pannipitiya, after a video of the incident was shared widely online, drawing widespread criticism.
The police department launched an investigation after a video circulated online depicting an officer, who was on traffic duty, assaulting an individual. The driver, identified as Kalaimakan Praveen, was attacked by the police officer and had his shirt ripped. He was then thrown to the ground by the officer who then proceeded to jump on his body. The assault was said to have occurred following a traffic accident.
Police investigation launched into an incident where a Traffic Police Constable attached to Maharagama Police assaulted a lorry driver - Police Spokesperson pic.twitter.com/nkdkmTZKRa
— Pragas Gnanapragasam ✍ (@PragasGnanam) March 29, 2021
Following the incident, Sri Lanka’s police spokesperson Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana clarified in an interview that “self-defence can be used by the public if and only when the Police officer is misusing his powers while on active duty.” He added, “the public can defend themselves to protect their health and lives, as they are mostly unarmed”.
Across the North-East Tamils and Muslims are constantly subjected to police harassment, surveillance and violence. Police officers are known to intimidate civil-society members and are linked heavily with the military apparatus. The North-East continues to remain one of the most militarised regions on the planet.