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Government Gazette

143rd Police Commemoration Day falls today:

Police force and its antecedents

LAW AND ORDER: The Police Commemoration Day is being held at a time when Police Force is engaged in the onerous task of protecting the law and order of the country.

As such, this particular day has been reserved in order to pay tributes to all members of the Police Service who have so heroically laid down their precious lives in the course of carrying out their duties diligently.

The Britishers, who ruled our country employed in 1863, the services of the Police Force, as it was then called, in order to arrest Deekirikewage Saradiel and his band of associates who were allegedly engaged in criminal activities in the Kegalle district.

In order to evade his arrest, Saradiel, decided not to remain in one single place permanently, for the sake of his own safety.

While he was thus taking refuge in the homes of his friends, on March 17, 1864, a police team under the command of Head Constable Amath surrounded the house where Saradiel had been hiding, with the help of some of the residents of that area who had given them the tip-off, which resulted in the death on the spot of George Van Haught, a member of the police search party, due to a gunshot wound.

Also, while Muttusamy and Christian Appu, two of his other accomplices received grievous injuries and two other were slightly injured, While they were thus engaged in the fracas, Saradiel and Mammale Marikkar succeeded in escaping.

Subsequently, the Police team including Police Sergeant Mahath and Police Constable Sabab, set out on March 21, 1864 to arrest Saradiel on the information given by the informant, one Sirimala. Based on this information, when the Police team surrounded the house belonging to Abdul Cader of Mawenelle searching for Saradiel, he attempted to shoot Sergeant Mahath.

But Sergeant Mahath outsmarted Saradiel by shooting him first, which resulted in Saradiel falling to the ground from the upstairs where he had been hiding. Due to a gunshot fired from the upstairs by Mammale Marikkar, a member of Saradiel’s gang, the Police Constable Saban was killed.

It was in that manner that a member of the police force met with his death, was named the first police officer to be killed while on duty. Since then, his name has headed the list of heroes of the police force who had sacrifice themselves while engaged in carrying out their duties. Thus, the name of the Police Constable Saban heads the list of police heroes to die while on duty.

As an integral part of our noble tradition, March 21, of every year has been reserved as the Police Commemoration Day. Here is a short historical account, with special reference to the manner how they accomplished this task.

Since that fateful occasion no less than 3005 members of the police force, both men and women, have sacrificed their lives while engaged in carrying out their duties. Included in this list there were one Deputy Inspector General of Police, Six Senior Superintendents of Police, five Superintendents of Police, 16 - ASPs, 269 - Inspectors, 2699 - Sgt. Majors/P.SS./P.CC, and nine Woman Police Officers.

From among these heroes and heroines, those who headed in their chronological order the lists of each of the above stated categories of officers are as follow.

DIG T. N. de Silva on 1999.12.18 in Colombo

SSP Terrance Perera on 1987.12.02 at Battaramulla

SP R. H. M. A. Herath on 1984.08.06 in Vavunia

ASP Jayawardane on 1984.04.10 at Medirigiriya

CI - Anura Asoka Kumara on 1991.07.28 at Kangikudichchi Aru

IP - M. Nell in 1898 in Maradana

R/IP - Dissanayake on 1994.05.05 at Central Camp

SI. P. L. Dissanayake on 1917.02.17 at Horana

R/SI - A. M. Ariyadasa on 1988.10.15 at Angunukolapelessa

Sgt. Major N. A. Wilbert Silva on 1996.06.28 attached to the STF

PS 2373 K. D. P. Jayanetti on 1942.05.15 at Nagoda

R/PS 459 C. R. M. Joseph on 1989.08.19 attached to the STF

R/WPS 307 Kamala Weerasinghe on 1990.12.26 at Dehiwala

PC - SABAN on 1864.03.21 at Mawanella

R/PC 4943 Sathiwanandan on 1978.12.05 in Jaffna

WPC 244 G. H. M. Yaso Menike on 1989.07.16 in Kandy

R/WPC 388 Somalatha Gnanawardana on 1989.08.13 at Rangala

PSD 12648 H. B. Sirisena on 1986.08.31 at Pulmude

R/PSD 58 G.A. Dharmasena on 1991.08.02 attached to the NIB

PCD 331 G. Piyadasa on 1971.04.16 at Kekirawa

R/PCD 25708 G. M. Gunasena on 1991.04.08 at Thalai Mannar

The reason why they are being honoured as Police heroes is because they have played a lead role in quelling crimes, boldly confronting the volatile situations the country had to face and in protecting the territorial integrity of the country.

Dear heroes of the police service who have sacrificed their precious lives by facing the bullets that pierced their hearts! Your pulsating breath that has spread your rays of justice on our Mother Earth is certain of becoming a perennial source of strength and encouragement to us all in the police service!

We pay our tribute to the parents, children and relatives of all those who have paid with their lives in order to uphold the dignity and honour of the police service. The dedicated lives and the heroic demises of our beloved comrades will continue to inspire us to serve our country, as they did without counting the cost.

While commemoration ceremonies in their honour will be held in all the police stations in the island today, the ceremonial function will be held today at 8.00 a.m. in front of the commemorative monument constructed at the field force headquarters at Bambalapitiya under the command of Victor Perera, the Inspector General of Police.

The writer is Senior Superintendent of Police, Director, Police Public Relations Bureau, Police Headquarters.

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