The police department yesterday apologized to devotees who were assaulted by a police officer while they were engaged in a ritual in the Menikganga on Thursday.
It said the assault was a shocking and highly undisciplined act.
The Police Department said Police Chief Victor Perera had given written instructions to Southern Range Deputy Inspector General Jayantha Gamage to identify and interdict the police officer concerned immediately and follow up with prompt disciplinary action against him. Hambantota Assistant Superintendent L. A. Wickramaratne had been appointed to conduct a preliminary investigation. The police urged eyewitnesses to give their statements to ASP Wickramaratne.
DIG Jayantha Gamage, when contacted by the Daily Mirror said the police officer was not aware of the ritual that is performed in the river after the annual Kataragama festival. He said 1,200 policemen including the errant officer were deployed at Kataragama in view of the festival.
According to the DIG no one had complained to the police regarding the incident.
Meanwhile President Mahinda Rajapaksa had directed the IGP to submit a report on the matter to him immediately.