- Police claim minimum force used on Ahamed
- Says no evidence found yet to support allegations of assault
- Police said Ahamed was released into his father’s care after his medical condition was explained
- Acting IGP orders Women and Children’s Bureau to conduct investigation
- JMO’s report and psych evaluation still pending
Three Police officers were suspended yesterday following the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) ordering an investigation into the alleged assault of Thariq Ahamed.
However, the Police department also claimed that minimum force was used to stop and control Thariq Ahamed, a 16-year-old boy with autism, who was allegedly stopped and assaulted at a roadblock on 25 May.
The Police allege that Ahamed had ridden a bicycle through the roadblock without wearing a face mask and ignoring orders to stop, and headed towards Walipanna from Dharga town in Aluthgama around 4:45 p.m. and had returned in a short while and had attempted to ride past the Police without a face mask, while ignoring verbal orders to stop, prompting police to stop him physically.
CCTV footage of the incident was subsequently shared on social media, resulting in public outcry against police treatment of Ahamed. Issuing a press release in response, the Police Media Unit stated that no evidence to support allegations of assault against Thariq had been found as of last evening.
The Police claim that when attempting to force the suspect to stop, Ahamed lost control of his bicycle and collided with a fish vendor›s stall and fell over. «At that moment, the cyclist had screamed loudly and attempted to run away, prompting the Police to restrain him,» the statement said.
The press release states that the officers at first had suspected the ‹›well-grown›› cyclist to be a drug abuser due to his conduct but stressed that Ahamed was released into his father›s care without charge when the suspect’s medical condition was explained to them.
Following the public outcry for justice, the acting Inspector General of Police has directed the Colombo Women and Child Bureau of Police to launch a special investigation into the incident. A separate investigation under the supervision of the DIG for the Kalutara range has also been launched to inquire whether the Police officers had discharged their duties properly during the incident.
Further, according to the Police Media Unit, Thariq Ahamed had been subjected to a medical evaluation by the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of the Nagoda Hospital in Kalutara and a psychiatric evaluation at the same hospital. Both reports were pending as of last evening.