Thursday, 3 March 2005    
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Intruding cop busts shorteat vendor's ears for saying 'hello'

by Wasantha Ramanayake

The Supreme Court decided to hold a full inquiry into the alleged Police assault on a "shorteats" vendor, who had been found fault for saying "hello" to a Police Sergeant lingering in the vendor's compound in the wee hours.

The court granted Leave to Proceed with a Fundamental Rights application of the petitioner M.A. Anura Kumara of Wadduwa. According to the petitioner, the National Council for the Deaf had advised the petitioner not to bathe for three months since his two ears had been severely damaged.

The Bench comprised Justices Nihal Jayasinghe, Shirani Thilakawardane and Saleem Marsoof PC.

The petitioner cited Sergeant Nimal, SI Rajapakse, Home guard Susantha, the IGP and the Attorney General as the respondents.

Counsel S. Gunarathne for the petitioner submitted that her client was 43 and also the sole breadwinner of a family of five including his two young daughters, and his ageing mother.

She submitted that the petitioner was used to getting up quite early in the morning to make shorteats. A neighbour, one Rupasinghe who supported his business, told the petitioner that particular morning, that he had seen someone in the compound.

He came out to meet the "intruder," and recognising the intruder to be a Police officer attached to the Wadduwa Police, he had uttered "hello" with mixed feelings of fear and surprise.

According to the counsel, the petitioner, to his amazement was greeted back with blows on his head and "Who are you to call me hello...," in pure vernacular.

Later in the morning, the petitioner along with his wife tried to lodge a complaint against the respondent Police officers at Wadduwa Police without success and finally managed to lodge one with the SSP.

The counsel submitted that the assault was in violation of the petitioner's rights and rendered him and his family utterly destitute for the months to come.

The petitioner sought a declaration against the respondent Police Officers for their cruel and inhuman treatment and a suitable compensation.

The hearing was fixed for June 14.


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