Lawyers for Human Rights and Development urged the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy to take immediate steps against the police officers who had abused their powers and brutally attacked members of the public who were engaged in a peaceful picket opposite the Fort Railway Station on October 26.
They have also accused the policemen who took part in that attack and a number of other recent attacks on members of public as being politically motivated and brutal. They wanted those responsible for attacking persons after they were taken into custody tobe punished.
They said the police attack was a gross violation of human rights and a threat posed by certain police officers to the democratic rights of the people. `A group of armed policemen tear gassed and dispersed a peaceful picket conducted by the National Patriotic Movement (DJV). As shown on the TV a number of people, who were arrested, were brutally assaulted by the police, Kalyananda Tiranagama, Director Lawyers for Human Rights and Development said in his letter to the Human Rights Commission on Wednesday (27)
Tiranagama also said the police were reported to have quoted the Presidential Election Act as the authority under which they arrested the members of the picket and it could be the police had misunderstood the provisions of the Act or they were politically motivated and abusing their powers.
He also said the Presidential Election Act could not override the Constitution and these demonstrators were exercising their fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. `Every citizen of this country and every voter has a right to express their views on matters affecting them and Presidential Election Act cannot override and deprive people of their rights.`
Tiranagama also said `We draw your attention to the brutal and merciless assault carried out on the arrested persons by certain police officers, as shown in the news telecasts these persons were assaulted after their arrest, while they were in custody.`
Tiranangama also said similar attacks on members of public on pickets are increasing and seems to be politically motivated. He requested the Commission to conduct an inquiry as all the evidence was available in the TV tapes and press photographs.