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
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
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 Saradielâ€™s gang, the Police Constable Saban was
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.