Religious complaints Police Special Investigation Unit opened by PM
Tuesday, 29 April 2014 00:03
A Police Special Investigation Unit to act on complaints pertaining to religious activities was established at the premises of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs in Colombo. SSP Ranjith Kodithuwakku is the officer in command of the unit. Official activities of the unit were commenced under the patronage of Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne yesterday.
IGP N.K. Illangakoon said at the opening ceremony that the main expectation in establishing this unit under the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to establish peace and reconciliation among the different religions. If someone is not satisfied with investigations carried out in relation to past incidents, they could bring their complaints to this unit for redress.
The IGP stressed the need for all persons belonging to all of the different religions, to act in accordance to the accepted rules of the country. In addition, officials representing all religions are to be recruited into the unit in the near future.
Complaints could be forwarded via its hotlines - 0112 307 674 and 0112 307 694, or faxed on 0112 307 688 and 0112 307 406.
Over 200 incidents reported alreadyOver 200 incidents were reported to the new Police Special Investigations Unit established at the Religious Affairs Ministry yesterday.
The Sinhala Rawaya lodged the first complaint at the newly commissioned police unit while Muslim Tamil National Alliance leader Azath Salley later lodged 284 complaints.
The Sinhala Rawaya said it filed a complaint at the new unit against the Thowheed Jamath Muslim group, while Salley lodged complaints over incidents mostly targeting Muslims in the country.
Two other people had also lodged complaints related to incidents involving religious issues.
The special police unit to handle religious disputes was established at the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs on the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that the unit will function under the guidance of a Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) and there will be eight police officers at the unit under an ASP.
The police officers will be given special training on multi-ethnic and multi-religious rights, according to the police spokesman. Complaints can be lodge at the unit by telephone or e-mail. (Colombo Gazette)
JHU warns of unnecessary consequences
The Jathika Hela Urumaya says the setting up of a special police unit to inquire into religious issues would cause unnecessary consequences.
JHU General Secretary, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka told a news conference that the Government should have instead put in place a mechanism through parliament to attend to complaints on religious issues.
He explained that the current move would eventually result in the setting up of several separate religious police units and it would then result in negative consequences.
According to Ranawaka, the JHU has wanted to submit a bill to parliament on setting up a mechanism to address religious matters, but some parliamentarians had discouraged the move. The Minister added that laws should apply to all religious groups equally.