SRI LANKA: Police allegedly assault and fabricate charges against teachers


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-181-2008
ISSUES: Freedom of expression, Police violence, Threats and intimidation,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a Head Quarter’s Inspector allegedly assaulted a principal and a teacher on 7 July 2008. It is reported that the teachers were falsely charged and released on bail but have to report to the police station concerned in every Sunday. They were also allegedly threatened by the police that they would be removed them from their posts.

CASE DETAILS: (based on the statements from the victims.)

Mr. D. N. Nimal and Mr. Ranjith are working in Hambantota, Gannoruwa School. Mr. Nimal is the principal and Mr. Ranjith is a teacher in the school.

In the morning on 7 July 2008, Mr. D. N. Nimal and Mr. Rangith came to school and observed that the majority of children were absent in the classes. Only two teachers reported to the office of the school while the rest of the teachers had not arrived. The few children who came to the school were taken back to their homes by their parents.

On the same day, a campaign was going to be held at Hambantota town asking for a bus from the authorities for people to travel to their working places and for children to go to school. All of them have no choice but to walk for long distances due to the absence of a bus line in the village.

Principle Nimal thought that the children might have participated in the campaign. The principal Nimal went to report the situation to the provincial education office with two teachers and some of the parents. Due to the lack of a vehicle, the principal rode the bicycle belonging to teacher Ranjith who was about to leave for Hambantota town for a private matter and other people started to walk toward the town.

While the principal Nimal and the teacher Ranjith were on the way to the town, they saw the people were taking part in the campaign on their way to the town. Principal Nimal and teacher Ranjith saw many of the children of Gannoruwa School accompanying their parents. At that time the campaigners were at ‘Siribopura’ junction and they were walking to the town. Some police officers were also at the junction inspecting the campaign.

Principal Nimal and teacher Ranjith stopped the bicycle and stayed at the junction, looking at the children of Gannoruwa School. Suddenly they heard a big noise and saw a female student of the school yell and fall down. (They later came to know the noise was a gunshot to chase away elephants destroying crops.) Ranjith rush to the student and bent down to pick her up. At that time, Mr. Kalinga, Head Quarter’s Inspector (HQI) attached to Hambantota Police Station came to Ranjith and assaulted him. He also scolded Ranjith in bad words. Some police officers who came with the HQI also assaulted him with batons.

As seeing the assault, children tried to save Ranjith but the police chased them away and pushed him to the police jeep. There were other eleven people in the jeep. When police attempted to assault Ranjith again in the jeep, other arrested persons prevented the assault. The police took them to the police station and put them to a cell. While the people were in the cell, the HQI and other police officers scolded at them using foul language.

Meanwhile, principal Nimal with eight parents went to the police station and asked for the release of the arrestees. However, HQI Kalinga scolded them. Principal Nimal was very ashamed in front of parents. Some parents were afraid of the HQI and left but principal Nimal and two people remained.

Then, HQI Kalinga ordered a Sub Inspector (SI) to put principal Nimal and other two parents into a police jeep saying, “We want you to clean some rubbish on the roads. You get ready to be road cleaners”. Officers put them into the jeep and took them around the village, constantly scolded them. Later, they dropped them at Gannoruwa School.

Meanwhile, Ranjith and other eleven people had stayed in the cell from 10:30am to 6pm. Then, HQI Kalinga took them to a Magistrate and submitted a report saying that Mr. Ranjith and another two people were conducting a campaign in Siribopura junction and bothered passengers in the road which caused traffic congestion, including ambulances taking injured soldiers to hospital. In response, the Magistrate said that the accused had not done anything wrong. However, when the accused asked for release on bail, the HQI did not allow them to do so. The HQI claimed that the police wanted to investigate them and keep them at the police station for a further length of time. Finally, the Magistrate allowed the police to keep them for further investigation.

The accused were kept in police custody for two days and released on bail on July 8 after paying in total, RS. 100000/= (USD 930) and were asked to go to the police station for signature every Sunday.

The HQI Kalinga has allegedly threatened Ranjith and principal Nimal that they will be dismissed from their jobs. He told that he would inform the education ministry that they organised the campaign and behaved badly. He also said that he would inform this to the Inspector General of Police that they were misbehaving.

Please write to local authorities listed below, urging them to investigate in this case so that those responsible for the assault and fabrication of charges receive departmental or legal action.

Please be informed that the AHRC has written separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture calling for intervention in this case.

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


Dear _______,

SRI LANKA: Police allegedly assault and fabricate charges against teachers

Name of victims: 
1. J. D. Ranjith, a teacher from Hambantota Gannoruwa School 
2. D. N. Nimal, a principal from Hambantota Gannoruwa School 
Charged with: blocking main road and an ambulance
Name of alleged perpetrators: Mr. Kalinga, Head Quarter’s Inspector attached to Hambantota Police Station, Hambantota Dist I, Tangalle Division, Southern Range
Date of incident: 7 July 2008
Place of incident:  Siribopura junction, Hambantota, Hambantota district, Southern province

I am gravely concerned by the alleged assault and fabrication of charges against one principal and one teacher by the Head Quarter’s Inspector attached to Hambantota Police Station on 7 July 2008.

According to the information that I have received, when principal Nimal and teacher Ranjith from Hambantota Gannoruwa School were at Siribopura junction and looked at a campaign in which some students held a picket asking for a bus for students and for the villagers that had no bus service to their residence. At the sound of a gunshot they rushed to help one student who yelled and fell over. Apparently, the gunshot was fired to chase away elephants who were destroying crops. Even though no one was injured by the gunshot, the Head Quarter’s Inspector came and assaulted Ranjith. He was arrested and placed in a police jeep with eleven other people.

From the information that I have learned, principal Nimal went to the police station with some other parents asking for their release but were verbally abused with filthy language and forcibly taken out from the station and dropped at the school. I am informed that even though the Magistrate said the arrestees had not done any wrongdoing, the HQI asked to detain them for further investigation and this request was approved.

I am aware that they were released on bail on July 8 but have to report to the police station every Sunday for their signature. Also the principal and teacher have received verbal threats by the HQI that they would be removed from their jobs.

In this regard, I strongly urge you to thoroughly investigate this case in time so that the accused have also enough time to argue with the report prepared by the police. The investigation should include the allegation of the assault of the teacher and fabrication of charges against them including the teacher and the principal. I finally call upon you to investigate threats against the two by the HQI so that the teacher and the principal can continue their work at the school without further harassment.

Yours sincerely,


1. Mr. C. R. De Silva 
Attorney General 
Attorney General’s Department 
Colombo 12 
Fax: +94 11 2 436 421

2. Mr. Neville Piyadigama
National Police Commission
3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers,
109 Galle Road
Colombo 03
Fax: +94 11 2 395867
Tel: +94 11 2 395310

3. Mr. Jayantha Wickremaratne 
Inspector General of Police
New Secretariat
Colombo 1
Fax: +94 11 2 440440/327877

4. Secretary
Ministry of Education
‘Isurupaya’, Pelawatte, 
Fax: +94 11 2785162
Tel: +94 11 2785141

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

6. Hon. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe
Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights
2, Wijerama Mawatha
Colombo 7
Fax: +94 11 269 3284 (Attn: Dr. Rajiva Wijesinghe, Secretary)

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission ( 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-181-2008
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Freedom of expression, Police violence, Threats and intimidation,