A young Tamil man who was assaulted and threatened with weapons by drunk off-duty police officers in Kopay, submitted a complaint to Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka in Jaffna on Friday 30th July.
Sinnarasa Vinothan was brutally attacked by six police officers and two accompanying personnel who were all heavily intoxicated. Vinothan, approached a van parked near his house as they were causing a ruckus, when he was ambushed by the personnel from different directions. He was struck with weapons and was dealt severe blows to his face despite not provoking them. The police officers stated that he should remain quiet and that if he were to make any noise that he would “be arrested under a fake drug charge”. After being intimidated by the demand, Vinothan stayed quiet but manage to flee the scene.
The following morning Vinothan was hospitalised with his injuries and lodged a complaint at the Jaffna Human Rights COmmision office, which had already received four complaints about the Kopay police’s human rights violations in that week alone.
Despite the Human Rights Commision sending letters to senior police officers seeking clarity on these patterns of violations, the abuses have been allowed to occur.
Five of the police officers, including a sub-inspector, who were identified as assaulting Vinothan have since been transferred to different police stations. However, it has been slammed as an effort to avoid accountability of the officers’ actions and draw away from the fact that there is a worrying trend of human rights violations by the Sri Lankan police across the North-East.
Jaffna District Deputy Inspector Priyantha Liyangage insisted that he issued the order to “prevent interference in the internal investigation addressing the legitimacy of the allegations held against them”.
There have been countless incidents of unchecked police brutality across Sri Lanka’s North-East spanning several decades where security forces have idly watched, encouraged, or even otherwise participated in violence against local Tamils.
In June, Chandran Vithusan (22) was tied to a tree and beaten by Sri Lankan police officers in front of his family members and pronounced dead the next day. The perpetrators are still yet to be held accountable.