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Eighteen percent increase in rape of underage girls between 2019 and 2020



57 per cent increase in narcotic related crimes during the same period

There was a 4% increase in rape of females above 16 years, in 2020, compared to 2019, the Performance Report of the Sri Lanka Police for the year 2020 reveals. About 289 such crimes were reported in 2029, and in 2020 the number of reported incidents increased to 300. Police say they brought to justice the perpetrators in 94% of the cases.

About 1292 cases of statutory rape of women under 16 were reported in 2020. This is an increase of 9% compared to the situation in 2019, when 1,185 such crimes were reported. The percentage of solving these crimes was 97% in 2020.

Some 305 incidents of rape of girls below 16 years have been reported in 2019 and in 2020; the number has increased to 361, a hike of 18%. The percentage of solving these crimes in 2020 is 92%. The total number of crimes under the above three categories in 2020 has increased compared to those in 2019.

The report had divided incidents of rape into three categories. The rape of females over 16, the statutory rape of females under 16 with the consent of the victim, and the rape females under 16 years without their consent.

Offences related to ‘abduction’ have declined in 2020 compared to those in 2018 and 2019, the Performance Report says.

Compared to 2019, incidents of abductions dropped from 663 to 633, by 4%. The percentage of solving them too went up from 85% in 2019 to 89% in 2020, the report said.

In 2020, 166 crimes related to kidnapping were reported and this is a 21% decline compared with the 212 kidnappings reported in 2019. The percentage of solving such crimes in 2020 was 90%.

In 2020, the number burglaries went down by 20%. Some 6,499 cases were reported compared to the 8,143 incidents reported in 2019. The percentage of solving such crimes in 2020 was 58%, an increase from 55% in 2019, the report said.

There was also a 3% drop in homicides in 2020 as well, compared to 2019. About 479 homicides were reported in 2019 and in 2020, the number dropped by 3%, to 464. The report says 94% of such cases were solved.

Robberies too declined in 2020, it says. Some 2,944 robberies were reported in 2019 and in 2020, and the number dropped by 27% to 2148. The percentage of robberies solved in 2020 was 67%.

There were 677 incidents grave sexual abuse in 2020. There were 710 such cases reported in 2019.

The report adds that a considerable number of crimes categorised under criminal breach of trust and criminal misuse of amounts exceeding Rs. 300,000, have been reported. However, compared to 2019, there has been a substantial decline of 45%. There were 5,251 incidents reported in 2019. Police solved 52% of such cases in 2020.

The performance report reveals that 4,905 cases of theft of property worth more than Rs. 25000 were committed in 2019. This dropped by 17% to 4,073 in 2020. Police solved 68% of such cases in 2020.

However, there has been a considerable increase in crimes related to narcotics in 2020 in comparison to 2019. The Report says that 4,340 such crimes were reported in 2019, and the number increased dramatically to 6,811 in 2020, a jump of 57%. The police solved 99% of these cases in 2019 and 2020.

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“Foreign bond holders more important to govt. than hard-pressed people”



SJB slams GR’s policy speech

The main opposition SJB says that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Policy Speech delivered in Parliament on Jan 18 failed to provide solutions to the crises faced by the country.

Addressing a press briefing held at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo on Thursday, SJB MP Eran Wickremaratne said that the crises with regard to economic management and governance had gone beyond the control of the government subjecting the masses to severe hardships without essential goods and services.

Wickremaratne said that  there had been no increase in the value of  GDP supporting the domestic and foreign borrowings by this government during the last two years.

He accused the government of giving priority to paying off debts of foreign cronies while  starving the people without essential foods inclusive of fuel for electricity generation.

“People who could not afford to basic necessities despite having cash in hand due to the shortage of dollars and foreign exchange now had to stay in the dark for several hours a day without electricity due to lack of fuel as the govt has not been able to maintain a supply chain properly. But the government, having crossed its wires, gives priority to repaying the loan to its cronies while mounting pressure on its citizens,” Wickremaratne said.

“President Rajapaksa’s Throne Speech did not provide answers to any of  the current problems  facing the country. Although the country faced two major problems, there was no answer to either of them in the President’s policy statement.

“First, rising commodity prices push up inflation increasing  vegetable prices. Secondly, the import of essential commodities has come to a complete standstill due to the foreign exchange deficit. There is a shortage not only for  food and fuel but also for  medicines for the people.”

He said only 25% of the country’s essential medicines are produced locally and the rest are imported. There is also a shortage of essential medicines due to lack of dollars for imports.

At a time when the people are under so much of  pressure, the government is  boasting of servicing   international sovereign bonds on time. People need to be told the secret of why foreign debtors are more important to the government than the citizens of the country, Wickremaratne said.

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COVID-19 on the rise again; 800+ new cases a second day running



(Economynext) New COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in Sri Lanka, with health authorities detecting over 800 new infections on Thursday (20) for a second consecutive day.

With the 827 new cases, total cases in the country have gone up to 599,363, official data showed.

Around 15,279 patients are currently receiving treatment in hospital or at home.

With 12 deaths reported in the last 24 hour period, the island nation’s COVID-19 death toll has reached 15,243.

Health authorities warned that the sector could face challenges managing new patients if daily cases continue to surge.

Officials are also concerned about an apparent hesitance for the booster dose of the vaccine that was largely absent in the initial rollout.

“We have provided the opportunity to get the booster countrywide. But because the fatality rate is now low people may think taking it is no longer necessary,” State Minister of Pharmaceutical Production Channa Jayasumana said speaking to journalists on Friday (21).

“Sri Lanka will go back to the previous state with people not taking the booster dose,” he warned.

The booster rate is very low compared to Sri Lanka’s otherwise impressive vaccination numbers, said Jayasumana.

“Only 4.8 million have taken the booster so far, and only 26,796 came forward yesterday to get it.

“With the increase of patients, even though the fatality rate is low, it can be overwhelming for the health sector if patient numbers in hospital wards and ICUs go up.”

Sri Lanka has so far vaccinated 16.3 with the first dose while 13.8 have received both doses.

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Prevention, cooperation, mutual assistance essential to counter connected nature of terrorists in South Asia – Army Chief



Prevention, cooperation and mutual assistance in controlled measures at international borders are essential to counter the transnational and connected nature of terrorists and criminal activists in the South Asian region, said Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander General Shavendra Silva on Thursday, emphasising on the need of law enforcement’s institutional reforms based on common and agreed policies.”

“In the legitimate government efforts to fight terrorism or organised crimes, in this regard, a possible South Asian regional treaty could promote counter-terrorism and anti-crime measures by promoting institutional structures and decision-making processes to promote cooperation, coordination, shared expertise and common legal approaches,” said Silva while virtually addressing the “Countering use of Crypto Currencies to Finance Terrorism” event on Thursday.

“Due to the transnational and connected nature of terrorists and criminal activists in our region, prevention, cooperation and mutual assistance in controlled measures at international borders are essential,” he added.

The General also said that there are avenues for collaboration by establishing information exchange at customs, imposing immigration barriers and commonly agreeing on the regulation of transporting and stockpiling of weapons and drugs, dangerous goods or potential warlike equipment.

Emphasising that mutual assistance can be enhanced by extending measures for collecting evidence of suspects, exchange of wanted personnel and etc, Silva said that enhancing the capacities of regional countries to handle terrorism and criminals would depend extensively on the training of law enforcement agencies.

“Apart from training for military personnel, of a particular country, it is also essential to carry out joint training for various armed forces of the South Asian region. Conducting counter-terrorism operations at a regional scale would also require regional funding. It is understood that funding counter-terrorism campaigns in recent times has become quite expensive due to the sophistication of insurgence,” Silva added.

The General also said that “this is where we need cooperation as very experience armies, who have long been engaging in counter-terrorism operations, we have specialities, therefore we can share each other’s specialities to counter each other’s imitations.”

“Law enforcement’s institutional reforms based on common and agreed policies and principles in the regional countries feel enhanced the compatibility between the countries in fighting transnational crimes and terrorism,” he added. (ANI)

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