The wife of the suspect who died in police custody in Matugama has complained to the IGP that her husband had been assaulted by police officers. The National Police Commission, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the Attorney General have also been informed in writing this regard.
A suspect arrested by the Matugama Police on the 22nd had suddenly fallen ill and died. The deceased has been identified as Bellana Vithanage Saliya Dhanuka, 40, a resident of Matugama, Yatadolawatta. He is a father of three and sells firewood as a occupation.
The suspect’s wife, K. Renuka says that on the 22nd at around 1.30 pm the husband had gone to a shop nearby his house to buy betel nut and she has heard that he was screaming shortly after. She said two men were beating her husband with a broomstick and another stick as she ran to him and then handcuffed him and thrown into a nearby three-wheeler.
She had identified the vehicle as a three-wheeler belonging to the Matugama Police and when asked why the husband was being taken away by the officer in the driver’s seat in uniform, he had answered that it was because he (suspect) violated the quarantine rules.
When she went to the Matugama police station at around 2.30 pm that day, she had seen the two officers who had assaulted her husband and four other officers picking up a man covered in a cloth and leaving him in the jeep. She went to the police officer at the police station and inquired about her husband, who said he had fallen ill and had been taken to hospital. When she asked the OIC about this, he said that he had been hospitalized due to a heart attack and that he was not even sure of that man’s life. There she began to scream and cry. Asking how to live with those three children. She has cried that asking one of her babies has a hole in the heart. It costs a lot for medicine. They have no house to permanent residing and has not paid the house rent in 4 months. She said that the OIC had told her that , “We will help to build you a house and will spend all the money for funeral” she said.
She claims that her husband was put in a trolley when she went to the Wattewa hospital with a neighbour woman and that his face was swollen with blood. Two nurses who were nearby has told her, he was dead when he was brought here and the police should be responsible for the death.
She said in her complaint that the OIC had asked her to accept the body at the hospital without autopsy and when she did not agree, he has spoken harshly. She further requested that to dismiss the Matugama Police from the investigation into the death and handed over it to another police team and that the law be enforced immediately against the officers who responsible for the murder of her husband.