An individual who was in the custody of the Panamura Police has reportedly died while in Police custody early this morning. Nearly 1000 people have gathered at the Police station to protest over the death, claiming that it was suspicious and the victim had died after being assaulted by the Police.
The Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) also staged a protest in Parliament today, holding placards inside the chamber, stating that the victim was a man who had attended the SJB rally in Colombo yesterday. They charged that the Police had arrested him over his participation in the rally and had assaulted him resulting in his death.
Responding to the SJB’s accusations, Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekara denied all allegations raised in this regard. He informed Parliament today that the man was wanted by the Police as he was accused by his wife of assaulting her and her daughter on a daily basis.
“The daughter of the man had filed a complaint last week stating that the man had assaulted her with a wooden pole causing severe injuries. The Police had launched an investigation and had arrested him last night. He was also found to be severely addicted to drugs,” the Minister said.
He further revealed that while in the Police cell at the Panamura Police station the man had attempted suicide and had been saved by the Police officers on duty, but had died while being transported to the hospital.
Meanwhile, two officers who were on duty at the Panamura Police station at the time of the incident have been suspended from duty. Two investigations have been launched into the death under an Assistant Superintended of Police (ASP) and the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Department.