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Suspects Die In Police Custody

By Binoy Suriyaarachchi- Sunday, May 25, 2014

mysterious death of cop killer suspect, Kahandawala Arachchige Tharuka Nilan (3!, who died last Sunday ("#! while
in the custody of the $riminal %n&estigation 'epartment ($%'!, is the latest addition to a long list of deaths in police
The police announced on the same day that the notorious suspect wanted )y police for many criminal acti&ities was
killed in a confrontation with police officials, while he was )eing escorted to unco&er a hidden weapons cache(
According to the police, following details recei&ed through interrogation, a group of police officials accompanied )y
a *olice %nspector had escorted the suspect to a forest reser&e in the Kalugala area in +dudum)ara in a )id to unco&er
the firearm reported to ha&e )een used for the crime(
*olice Spokesperson SS* A,ith -ohana said that the police officers had to
gun down the suspect in defense, when he attempted to hurl a hand grenade at the $%' officers( Tharuka Nilan had
died on the spot due to in,uries he sustained to his head( Two police officers were also in,ured during the
confrontation, SS* -ohana added(
Tharuka Nilan who is said to )e an army deserter was apprehended )y the $%' while he was riding a motorcycle in
Teldeniya on the Kandy -.ahiyangana road on .ay "/, with his wife and two children( The elder daughter of the
suspect who sustained minor in,uries when a gun went off while the police officers were attempting to arrest the
suspect was admitted to the Kandy 0eneral 1ospital, and later discharged(
An intensi&e in&estigation into the a)duction and )rutal murder of $onsta)le $handana Sampath, an officer attached
to the Kurunegala *olice Traffic 'i&ision, was originally launched )ased on the statements gi&en )y $onsta)le A,ith
2eerasooriya who managed to escape from the criminals and sur&i&ed the ordeal, police sources said(
The deceased officer $handana Sampath was the father of two children, ten-year-old son, Samidu +manda 3apa and
"3-year-old daughter, Saduni Na&odya 3apa( 'uring his -year career as a police officer, he had won 43 rewards for
his outstanding performance at police stations in Kurunegala, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, %giniyagala, .inneriya,
5a&uniya, $hilaw, .annar and .undalama( The *olice 'epartment last week announced that $handana Sampath was
promoted to the rank of Sergeant as he had died in the line of duty(
.y son may )e innocent6 7ather claims
K(A( 0unadasa the 89-year old father of the deceased suspect told The Sunday :eader that he predicted his son would
ha&e to face a series of unpalata)le incidents after he got na))ed o&er such a serious offense( 1owe&er, he admitted to
the fact that Tharuka Nilan was apprehended )y the police se&eral times in the past few years o&er se&eral wrong
0unadasa said it is shocking that the police officers had to fire at his son, while he was riding a motor)ike with his
wife and two little children(
;%t is a motor)ike, therefore anyone could see the little ones were there, yet the officers decided to pull the trigger( .y
granddaughter is so lucky that she sustained only minor in,uries to her knee following the shooting incident< the
children are not responsi)le for the wrongdoings of their elders,= he said(
;% ha&e a dou)t a)out my son>s death( 'idn>t the police escort my son to the hidden weapons cache, in handcuffs?
1ow easily can anyone hurl a hand grenade at the police when their hands are manacled? %t is the police who claim
my son was responsi)le for the crime( But was he found guilty after a fair court trial? No( .ay)e my son was not
in&ol&ed at all,= he said(
;%f Nilan was to )lame for this crime, he deser&ed the punishment he got, % do not deny that( %t is my &iew that those
who are to )lame for this either will ha&e to pay during this life time or the ne@t(= he said(
+nfortunate happenings6 *olice Spokesperson
2hen The Sunday :eader asked SS* -ohana a)out the incident he said, ;All the time we ad&ice our officials to take
action to pre&ent this kind of incident, )ut unfortunately it happens=(
A@plaining the e&ents in connection with the incident SS* -ohana said that they had escorted the suspect in search of
weapons after recording a statement from him at 8(3B a(m( on Sunday ("#! morning( ;7ollowing the search, we found
the firearm, )ut without a magaCine( Dn a pre&ious occasion, the in&estigation teams had found the magaCine at the
scene of the crime( .oments after that, the suspect had attempted to hurl a hand grenade which was hidden in close
pro@imity to the location and in return the police officials had to shoot him down in defence,= SS* -ohana said(
*olice in&estigations ha&e re&ealed that the four suspects who were under the influence of alcohol or drugs had
a)ducted the *olice $onsta)les most pro)a)ly to take re&enge for the punishments they suffered while in police
The police officials were not eEuipped with firearms or any communication de&ices at the time of the a)duction(
1owe&er, last .arch the *olice 'epartment had decided to arm the police officers with a pistol or a re&ol&er, in
consideration of their safety while on duty(
%n footage uploaded to 3ouTu)e of $onsta)le A,ith 2eerasooriya gi&ing a statement to the Fudicial .edical Dfficer
(F.D!, says that their official uniforms were forci)ly remo&ed )y the suspects, while they were )eing a)ducted in the
&an( The $%' in&estigation teams had later disco&ered the remains of uniforms( Some of it was found inside a house
in Thim)irigaskatuwa, Katana, which the suspects are said to ha&e used(
Thus far, the police ha&e three suspects in custody while in&estigations are )eing carried out to apprehend the fourth,
according to the *olice( A *olice source said that a clue gi&en )y a person in Negom)o had led to the arrest of the
main suspect(
The Bar A ssociation speaks out
%ssuing a statement, the Bar Association of Sri :anka (BAS:! has condemned the killing of Tharuka Nilan while he
was in police custody on .ay "#(
%n a statement the BAS: stated that this is the most recent case in a series of incidents where suspects while in *olice
custody for serious criminal cases had )een killed without recourse to the law(
;%n a ci&iliCed society state custody is said to )e the safest custody )ut it is regretta)le that in our country the rule of
law has reached a situation where state custody has )ecome the most dangerous custody( %t is unthinka)le that our law
enforcement authorities and those responsi)le for administration of ,ustice has up-to-date not e&en raised this as a
serious issue,= the BAS: stated in the statement(
-ecent deaths while in *olice custody
.ay "#, B"96 Tharuka Nilan (3! arrested o&er the killing of a *olice consta)le attached to the Kurunegala *olice
Station died while in the custody of $%'(
.ay #, B"96 *(1( Sadun .allinga ("/! arrested o&er alleged treasure hunting died while in the custody of Badulla
April 4, B"96 A 9-year old person arrested for dri&ing under the influence of alcohol died while in the custody of the
Anuradhapura *olice(
.arch "", B"96 An alleged underworld figure called *aalan-kada 1een .alli arrested o&er the killing of a
)usinessman in -atnapura died while in *olice custody(
Fuly 4, B"36 .ohammed ACmir alias .amaCmi was shot dead while the suspect was )eing escorted )y a group of
ST7 personnel to unco&er a weapons cache(
No&em)er , B"36 The key suspect in the murder of a *olice consta)le and his wife in Kam)urupitiya, was shot
dead when he was taken to a hideout in search of weapons(
No&em)er 8, B"36 Two more suspects arrested o&er the killings of the same *olice consta)le and his wife in
Kam)urupitiya, had drowned after reportedly ,umping into the 'enagama ri&er, while trying to escape from the police
Septem)er 8, B"36 3akkala Arachchige Ariyadasa alias Kapila of 2alasmulla arrested o&er an alleged ro))ery, died
while in police custody(