By Nalaka Ratnayake and Norman Palihawadana
Police and Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development Minister Jeevan Thondaman have traded accusations over the latter’s intervention with the Bogawanthalawa Police, following the arrest of a 28-year-old person involved in a dispute with the manager of a state bank in the area. The police arrested the suspect in Bogawantalawa town on 22 June, hours after the bank manager lodged a complaint.
Police said Minister Thondaman and a group of supporters had arrived at Bogawantalawa on 24 June in the late afternoon and berated police officers for taking the suspect, named Kalaichelvam, into custody. Hatton District Judge and Magistrate M Farookdeen has remanded the suspect till 27 June, pending investigations.
When The Island raised the issue with Minister Thondaman’s Office, a spokesperson said that the Minister had called for an impartial inquiry as the police had allegedly assaulted the suspect when he was taken into custody. The Minister had taken up the issue because the police had allegedly committed an excess, he said.
Jeevan Thondaman successfully contested the Nuwara Eliya District at the last general election on the SLPP ticket. The CWC MP was accommodated in the Cabinet in January this year by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Sources said that Minister Thondaman had summoned the OIC of the Bogawanthalawa Police Station Chief Inspector Sampath Bandara and three police officers who carried out the arrest.
The Minister has demanded the immediate transfer of the three policemen out of the Bogawantalawa Police Station and to assign one of them to the CWC main office at Kotagala.
Minister Thondaman has threatened to discontinue water supply to the Bogawantalawa Police Station, unless his demands are met.Hatton SP H.N. M. Dehigama, who arrived at the scene, had told Minister Thondaman that the officers couldn’t be transferred until the conclusion of an internal investigation. The senior officer said that the investigation was based on video footage of the arrest now on social media platforms.
Sources said that the suspect had inquired about the bank balance of another person and an argument had erupted when bank workers declined to grant his request, pointing out that it was illegal to release such information to a third party.
Train services on coastal line delayed
The Railway Department has announced that train services on the coastal line will be delayed due a derailment between Kollupitiya and Colombo Fort this morning (27).
It also said that trains bound to Colombo will be given priority and requested South bound passengers to make use of alternate modes of transportation until the situation is rectified.
Chinese ship visit: Sabry contradicts Defence Ministry
India consulted, concerns raised by US
Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC, has denied that the government granted permission for Chinese research vessel Shi Yan 6 to visit the Colombo port late next month.
Sabry told the media in New York on Monday (26) that Colombo had not given permission for the Chinese vessel to dock. He said India’s security concerns were important for Sri Lanka.
The Defence Ministry on 27 August announced that approval for the Chinese ship to dock in Colombo had been granted
The media quoted Sabry as having said there was a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and the government consulted many friends including India.
“That’s a conversation going on for some period of time. India has expressed its concerns over a long time, but we have come out with the SOP. When we were making it, we consulted many of our friends, including India. So, as long as it complies with the SOP, we have no problem. But if it doesn’t comply with the SOP, we have a problem,” Ali Sabry told ANI.
“So, therefore, as far as I know, we have not given permission for the vessel to come to Sri Lanka during October. Negotiations are going on. Indian security concerns, which are legitimate, are very, very important to us. We have always said that because we want to keep our region a zone of peace,” said Ali Sabry.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe, too, has said that an SPO was worked out for foreign vessels.
The Chinese research vessel was expected in Sri Lanka in October to conduct research along with the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA).
US Under Secretary Victoria Nuland, during her meeting with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, had raised concerns regarding Shi Yan 6’s visit.
Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Victoria Nuland stated, “The US supports a strong and prosperous Sri Lanka. Our work together continues at #UNGA. I met with @MFA SriLanka Minister Ali Sabry to discuss U.S. economic assistance, human rights, and our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Sabry told Nuland that Sri Lanka had worked out the SOP to be followed by foreign ships and aircraft in carrying out any activity in Sri Lankan territory, according to a Daily Mirror report.
Last year, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, while commenting on Chinese vessel Yuan Wang-5 which had docked in Sri Lanka, said that any developments that have a bearing on India’s security are “obviously of an interest to us”.
“What happens in our neighbourhood, any developments which have a bearing on our security obviously are of an interest to us,” Mr. Jaishankar said at a joint press conference after the 9th India-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting.
India had expressed its security concerns over the docking of the vessel at the Sri Lankan port as it was shown as a research vessel with the capability of mapping the ocean bed, which is critical to anti-submarine operations of the Chinese Navy. The Chinese research ship had docked at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port.
Court bans Thileepan commemorations in Trinco
The Trincomalee Magistrate’s Court yesterday (26) prohibited the commemoration of LTTE cadre ‘Thileepan’ who died on 26 Sept., 1987, during a fast against the IPKF. The court order came as several events were scheduled to be held in Trincomalee yesterday.
The Trincomalee Court banned any sort of celebrations, demonstrations, parades or protests commemorating Thileepan in the Kulakottan Hall and the Gandhi Roundabout within the Trincomalee Harbour Police division, and within the Trincomalee police division.
The relevant order was issued against several activists, including
President of the Trincomalee District Tamil People’s Forum R. F. Jerome, Ramesh Nicholas, Suhirdha Priya, Krishna Pillai Sri Prasath, Kandaiyya Kandeepan alias ‘Pamaparasan’, Karthik Kalkiriyan and others.
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