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Police attack on 14-year-old autistic boy draws strong condemnation from all corners

  • Sangakkara, Namal Rajapaksa among many others take to social media to condemn attack
  • Former MP Moulana visits boy’s house in Aluthgama
  • Inquiry launched into incident: Police Spokesman


Former cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara and former MPs Namal Rajapaksa and Ali Zahir Moulana were among a large number of people who took to social media to strongly condemn an attack by Police on a 14-year-old autistic boy resident in Dharga Town, Aluthgama, the CCTV footage of which leaked on social media yesterday.

The incident had taken place on 25 May while the curfew was imposed, when the victim Thariq Ahamed had wandered out of his house on his bicycle, and had gone towards the Ambagaha Junction in Dharga Town, where at a checkpoint manned by several policemen, he had been stopped, pushed off his bicycle, and violently beaten up.

Sangakkara, like many others, took to Twitter to condemn the attack, saying, “Absolutely disgusting act. It has to be investigated and prompt action taken against the perpetrators. Any and all such acts cannot be permitted or tolerated.”

Namal Rajapaksa also condemned the attacks on Twitter, saying, “I strongly condemn those involved in the abuse of #ThariqAhamed & support a full inquiry into the matter. It›s sad that the excellent work done by @SriLankaPolice2 during the #COVID19SL pandemic is now questioned after this.”

Former MP Moulana, who visited the boy’s house yesterday, also strongly condemned the attack, and said it is a shame that a child with special needs had to experience such trauma and police brutality.

“Despite it all, Thariq was exceptionally cheerful – a testament to his innocence. It truly was a pleasure to spend time with him.” Moulana said on Twitter after the visit.

Former JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa also visited the victim’s house last evening. “This is disgrace to the #SLPolice who›s praiseworthy in #COVID19 battle. I urge president @GotabayaR to call an urgent inquiry & bring #JusticeForThariq,” he said on Twitter.

Police Spokesman SP Jaliya Senaratne said last night that an inquiry has been launched into the incident, with SP Kalutara in charge of the investigation. He said statements have been recorded from the father of the victim as well as the boy, and the CCTV footage of the incident is also being examined. The spokesman added that a report has been called from the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) as well.

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