It was revealed in Sri Lankan Parliament on Sept 9 that the number of suspects (mostly sinhalese) dying while in police custody has sharply increased since 2005.
This was revealed when Chief Whip of the Government in Parliament Minister Dinesh Gunawardene responded to a question asked by JVP Parliamentarian Luxman Nipunaarachchi. Mr. Nipunarachchi asked how many had died while being under police custody from 2005 until now.
The minister said 92 suspects have died while in police custody during the period. The statistics are two in 2005, eleven in 2006, twenty in 2007, twenty six in 2008 and thirty two up to 16th of August.
As such there is a sharp increase of deaths of suspects while in police custody since Mr. Mahinda Rajapake was elected as the President of this country.
According to the Minister majority of the suspects died when police used minimum force to avoid being attacked by suspects taken out to reveal hidden arms to the police. Next is the group that committed suicide while being under police custody.
Also, several suspects died, according to the Minister, when residents assaulted them before handing them over to the police. The above details were produced to the Parliament with the signature of the Defense Secretary. However, there are shocking doubts regarding the way certain suspects had died.
Peduruarachchige Sugath Kumara of Rajawatta at Kalutara was arrested by police on 18th November, 2006. According to information presented to Parliament by the Ministry of Defense he was killed on the same day in a confrontation with the police when he was taken out to show where weapons had been hidden.
However, the charge against him is stealing money from Multipurpose Cooperative Society at Kalutara on 20th November, 2006. He is charged for stealing two days after his
death. Four persons arrested on 16th February, 2007 at Ambalangoda died in an identical manner. Reports say they were shot dead by police when they attempted to attack police with hand grenades while being taken to show hidden weapons.
The suspect Patabandige Sujith Perera who was under police custody died by jumping on to an on coming bus at Colombo Fort on 12th April, 2008. Gamage Don Sunil from Ganemulla who was killed in a confrontation with police when taken to show hidden weapons on 14th May, 2007 had been arrested for stealing cattle. The suspect Owala Kankanamge Chandrasekra has died by hanging himself on the 4th floor of CID on 24th February, 2007.