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Bogawanthalawa incident: Minister Thondaman’s statement

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Minister Jeevan Thondaman issued the following statement yesterday evening: I categorically deny the allegations regarding an alleged confrontation between me with the Bogawantalawa Police. Contrary to the allegations, my intention was to address the issue of police brutality and ensure justice for the 28-year-old father of two who was reportedly subjected to violence and arrested on what appears to be a civil matter.

It is disheartening to witness instances where individuals from marginalised communities often become victims of police brutality due to their lack of awareness regarding their rights or full comprehension of the Sinhala language. As an elected representative, it is my duty to advocate for those who are often unheard and overlooked.

I firmly believe in upholding the rule of law, and that includes zero tolerance for any form of police brutality. I would like to emphasise that I never made any death threats towards the police officers involved nor threatened to cut their water (which is provided by the local municipality and not the Water Board). I engaged with the police officers reminding them of their moral and legal duty to be respectful and uphold the rule of law when treating the general public, including suspects of crime.

In addition, I will be releasing a video taken by a concerned member of the public, which captures the police manhandling the accused in a public setting. This serves as further evidence and underscores the need for a thorough investigation into this incident. We cannot turn a blind eye to such acts of police intimidation.

I am committed to transparency and ensuring accountability. I stand firmly against any form of violence, especially when it comes to those tasked with upholding the law. My aim is to foster a society where the rights and dignity of all citizens are respected, irrespective of their background or social standing.

I call upon the relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate this incident, review the available evidence, and take appropriate action to address any misconduct or abuse of power. It is essential that we establish a system that protects the rights and well-being of every individual within our society.I remain dedicated to serving the people and working towards a just and equitable society where no one is subjected to violence or injustice.”

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