SRI LANKA: Gang of 14 operate with impunity


Urgent Appeal Case: UA000303-01
ISSUES: Impunity,

This report is from a weekly newspaper in Sri Lanka Irida Peramuna (Sunday Leader) dated 20 February 2000.

Sirigampola is a village close to Wennappuwa which is situated quite close to Negombo, (along the coast north of Colombo) just a few miles away from the Colombo International Airport. At Sirigampola area there had been a gang named Gang of 14 (¡°14 kalliya¡±) who have been engaged in many acts of robbery and other crimes. The following is one such crime that has shocked the people in the area.

The leader of the Gang of 14 is a person called Piyal who is 28 yeard old according to the Wennapuwa Police.

This Gang of 14 including its leader Piyal entered a house at Lunvilla, Sirigampola, on the 13 February [2000] at about 11:00 p.m. During this time the owner of the house was watching TV and his wife and children have gone to sleep. The gang entered the house by breaking the door and one in the Gang kicked the owner of the house. Then Piyal said, ¡°you have 20,000 Rs. with you, give it to us.¡± The owner of the house recognized Piyal because he has known
him for several years. The owner said, ¡°I have collected this money from savings from daily menial jobs I have been doing and I have collected it to do a little repair for my house.¡± He further pleaded not to harm him or to take the money.

Piyal did not care about these pleading and instead kicked him. As he had no way of escape the owne took the 20,000 Rs. and placed it on the hand of Piyal. By then his wife and children awoke. Then Piyal told him and his wife to undress. They refused. Then Piyal using the blunt side of a sword began to attack them severely. Piyal said, ¡°I won¡¯t tell you again. Undress and don¡¯t shout. If you do shout, I will kill you.¡±

Trembling with fear they undressed. Then Piyal ordered them to engage in sexual intercourse in front of their children. They refused and the owner pleaded, ¡°Your child and my child are going to the same school. Please do not allow this thing to happen here.¡± Then Piyal said, ¡°I don¡¯t care about those
things, do it soon.¡± They refused. Then Piyal tied the owner¡¯s hand and feet to a post.

Saying, ¡°If you can¡¯t do it, I will do it,¡± he raped the wife of the man in front of everyone. Then the gang fled.

The Newspaper had made inquiries from the police and was told that Piyal has not been arrested. A policeman further informed the Newspaper that sometime later Piyal will appear again with some other people and do a similar act.

The people in the area who have experienced many incidents of violence by this gang do not dare to give their identities or go to the police.

The AHRC has constantly made reports on the deteriorating law and order situation in Sri Lanka. It has particularly pointed out to the collapse of the police system in Sri Lanka. AHRC has conducted several investigations into the present situation and conducted a workshop on police reforms in Sri Lanka (please find this report at the AHRC web site at: The reports AHRC received from the local NGOs and newspapers gives a picture of a very dismal situation where ordinary citizens lives in a great state of insecurity and the state is unable to provide basic security to the people. Former president J. R. Jayawardene made the famous statement that ¡°each one should look after their own security.¡± As the state fails to carry out one of its basic obligations people are now afraid even to make complains as that may lead to even further trouble. AHRC has pointed out over and over a gain that the international community must pay attention to the extremely deteriorated law and order situation throughout the country.

We urge you to write to the government of Sri Lanka to
request investigations into the case mentioned above in particular and to the situation of law and order in the country in general.

Suggested letter:

I have received several reports of the deteriorating law and order situation in your country. One of the last incidents I have learned is about the rape of a wife in front her husband and children in the course of a robbery, which has taken place at Sirigampola, Wennapuwa on the 13th of February 2000. The incident has been reported in the press. I am saddened by the pathetic plight of this woman, her husband and her children. It is also said that such incidents are common. I urge that this particular incident and similar
incidents be investigated thoroughly and perpetrators be brought to justice.

The suggestions made by some organizations for a thorough police reform in Sri Lanka also need to be considered urgently.

Address these letters to:

Your Excellency President Chandika B. Kumaratunga
Presidential Residence
Colombo 3,
Sri Lanka
Fax: 94-1-333-703

The Officer In Charge
Wennappuwa Police Station
Sri Lanka

Hon. Chief Justice G.P.S. de Silva,
The Office of the Judicial Service Commission
Superior Courts Complex,
Colombo-12, Sri Lanka.


Mr. O S M Seneviratne
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
No. 50, Dr. N W Perera Mawatha
Borella, Colombo 8
Sri Lanka
Fax: 94-1-694 924

and diplomatic representatives of India accredited to your country.

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA000303-01
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Impunity,