Court orders arrest of Major General & soldiers

Court orders arrest of Major General & soldiers for obstruction of duties & assault

by Staff Writer 30-06-2021 | 9:27 PM

COLOMBO (News 1st); Court ordered Sri Lanka Police to arrest and produce a Sri Lanka Army Major General and several soldiers who obstructed the duties of Wildlife Officers at the Minneriya National Park and made death threats while assaulting one forest officer.

The Habarana Police on Wednesday (30) presented facts to the court via a B report over the incident.

Sri Lanka Police said two complaints were filed with the Habarana Police over the incident by the Custodian of the Minneriya National Park Bhathiya Madugalle and Wildlife Reserve Officer M. W. K. Wasala.

Sri Lanka Police said investigations were carried out based on the two complaints and noted that preliminary investigations revealed that Wildlife Reserve Officer M. W. K. Wasala who is said to have been assaulted by the Major General was not hospitalized.

Accordingly, the Habarana Police sought an alternative date to report the progress of the investigations to the court.

However, this request was turned down by the Kekirawa District Judge and Magistrate Saman Weraniyagoda who questioned Sri Lanka Police as to why the suspects were not arrested if they have been identified and details of their vehicles have been revealed.

The court condemned the conduct of the Habarana Police for failing to even record a statement from the suspects.

The Court ordered the Habarana Police to record statements from the suspects and take the necessary legal action against them.

The Court also ordered police to report back without delay if the suspects fail to report to Police to provide statements.

The Court said after facts are reported, the court will issue the necessary orders.

The Habarana Police then informed the court that Major General Mohan Rathnayake too had filed a complaint against the Wildlife Officers for bringing disrepute to his name by subjecting him to search while he was traveling with his troops.

Magistrate Saman Weraniyagoda questioned the police as to whether the Wildlife Officers have no right to search soldiers who illegally enter a National Park which belongs to the Department of Wildlife.

The Habarana Police responded that the Wildlife Officers have a right to do so.

The Wildlife Officers had complained to Sri Lanka Police that personnel was positioned to carry out a raid on the 23rd of June at the Minneriya National Park after they were tipped off about an attempt to steal an elephant calf.

The Wildlife Officers said the altercation took place when two Sri Lanka Army vehicles that entered the National Park were subject to a search by them.

The complaint notes that the Wildlife Officers had flagged down the two Sri Lanka Army vehicles at a roadblock, however, the vehicles had continued to move ahead defying the orders the stop.

The Wildlife Officers had chased after the two vehicles to the main entrance of the Sri Lanka Army Camp in Anuradhapura and the assault had taken place when they were returning from the chase.