SRI LANKA: A 29 weeks pregnant woman tortured by Saliya Wewa Police


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-139-2016
ISSUES: Administration of justice, Rule of law, Victims assistance & protection, Violence against women, Women's rights,

Dear friends,

Mrs. Hashika Shashi Kanthi of Palugasdamana, Saliya Wewa in Puttalam District, was tortured by four policemen attached to the Saliya Wewa Police Station. At 10 pm on the night of 23 July 2016, they forcibly entered her home while her husband was away. At that time, she was 29 weeks pregnant, expecting her second child and later had to be admitted and treated in Puttalam General Hospital. When the husband returned and stood before the police, he vehemently opposed the way in which his wife was tortured. The police said that they simply came to his premises by mistake. In turn, they warned him that he would be prosecuted on fabricated charges if he complained to higher authorities. The victims fear for their lives and possible future prosecutions.


Hashika is married, the mother of a little girl. Hashika was expecting her second child and her due date was within a few weeks of 23rd July, 2016.

On 23rd July, 2016, at 10 pm, four men in civilian clothes forcibly broke into her home. Hashika was sleeping in bed with her daughter. Her husband had gone to a shop in the village to buy things needed for cooking on the next day. As their front door was poorly constructed and not strong, the police were able to force their way in very easily.

In a rude manner they shouted at her, asking where her husband was. She identified them as police officers because of their speech and behavior. Hashika immediately ran out of the house in fear of her life, was pushed by a policeman and fell on bricks in the garden courtyard. The officer who followed her out of the house repeatedly kicked her back and buttocks. She started screaming, pleading for help.

Within several minutes, the Officer-in-Charge (OIC), K.H.C.C. Kumarasinghe of the Saliya Wewa Police Station arrived by jeep with a large number of officers. Hashika states that some 15 officers surrounded her. The OIC began shouting at her, asking the whereabouts of her husband. By that time several relatives, including the elder sister of her husband, arrived on the scene. This elder sister used her mobile phone to call her brother to inform him of what was happening. Within a few minutes he, too, arrived at the house.

After observing his wife who was tortured and suffering, he told the OIC with his officers, that if he was needed, they could have sent a message instead of forcefully entering their private home and beating a defenseless 29 weeks pregnant woman.

After the husband appeared before the police, the OIC and his officers changed their attitude. They explained that they were searching for another man, not her husband. The OIC clarified that they entered the home and made a search based on wrong information and misidentification.

They were cautioned to keep quiet about the incident. If they talked or complained to higher authorities, fabricated charges will be filed against them for possession of cannabis or other drugs. In future, none of them would be allowed to enter the forest-even to collect fire wood. When Hashika’s husband reminded the officers that torturing a pregnant woman is against the law, the OIC said that the police not only can torture but can also kill.

As a result of the torture, Hashika had several contusions/bruises on her back and buttocks and bleeding under the skin. She started experiencing pain all over her body. Her relatives brought her to Puttalam General Hospital where she was admitted at 11.45 pm and treated for several days.

While she was in hospital, several national media outlets covered her story. They publicized the illegal actions of the police officers. In response, a police officer from the Saliya Wewa Police Station admitted the incident, but justified it as part of their official duties. ??? to assault pregnant women.

Later, the media reported that after discharge from the hospital Hashika and her daughter did not stay in their house at night. As a result of this police encounter, they are all living with three main fears: apprehension for her and her husband’s life, fear of fabricated charges by officers responsible for the torture, fear of future prosecutions.

After discharge from the hospital Hashika lodged a complaint with the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRCSL). Up until now, the HRC has not initiated any inquiry into her case. She has received no justice. And-the victims continue to live in fear of their lives and future prosecution.


Please write to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case. Request an immediate investigation into the allegations of torture of a 29 weeks pregnant woman by police officers. Prosecute those proven to be responsible under the law. The officers involved must be subject to an internal investigation for breach of Police Department orders.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Colombo 12 
Fax: +94 11 2 436421 

3. Secretary 
National Police Commission 
3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers 
109 Galle Road 
Colombo 03 
Tel: +94 11 2 395310 
Fax: +94 11 2 395867 
E-mail: or

4. Secretary 
Human Rights Commission 
No. 36, Kynsey Road 
Colombo 8 
Tel: +94 11 2 694 925 / 673 806 
Fax: +94 11 2 694 924 / 696 470 

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission (