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Ex-Police Spokesperson returns to tell his story

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(SSP Prishantha Jayakody said that he left the country in fear of his life ) (SSP Prishantha Jayakody said that he left the country in fear of his life ) Pic By Chandana Wijesinghe

It was the first week of August in 2013. An unexpected news item was received by media that one time Police Spokesperson SSP Prishantha Jayakody’s service has been suspended. SSP Jayakody who had gone on a foreign tour had not returned as due and the Police Department had to suspend his services. However, media found out that he had received asylum in Australia. Everyone noted his being transferred to several places with different responsibilities, but none had any idea why SSP Jayakody had to make up his mind to leave the country.

Last Thursday, February 26 he returned to his mother-land and said that he had to leave the country because of threats on his life as well his family members. Within hours of his arrival of the country, he spoke to a large gathering of media in Colombo and revealed that he was not allowed to perform his duties as a policeman by some officials of the Ministry of Defence. He used the name of the former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa openly and said that the threatening calls were from the numbers registered under the Ministry of Defence.
Refuting his allegiance to any individual political party during his 27 year long service, he said “I was only making every possible effort to keep the law and order of the country. Even today, I don’t know why I was removed from the post of Police Spokesperson.”

Revealing the past incidents which made him suspect that some wanted him to be dropped from the police service, he reminded the media of the statement which he made at the DIG (Moneragala) Latheef’s incident. The country heard that DIG Latheef, another frank and brave officer who carried out his duties impartially and against illegal activities was transferred to Badulla from Moneragala by then political big wigs of the Provincial Council.

SSP Jayakody had directed his police officers to punish and take stern action against anyone who goes against the law of the country and the former SSP believed that his enemies had taken that move very seriously.   

He also told the media that once his officials were looking for a suspect who attacked two police officers using his political powers. The suspect who was then Chairman of the Embilipitiya Pradeshiya Sabha was hiding inside Temple Trees just after the incident. I didn’t want to close the case and he appeared in Police just after four days with a presidential Counsel.” Former SSP Jayakoday added.

“I was studying for my PhD those days and I also received invitations for lectures mostly in Police functions. One day I have been invited for a lecture at Ja-Ela on the topic of ‘Mass Media and Police.’ I finished the lecture and on the way, I received a phone call and the caller questioned me “why did you criticize the Government and the Defence Secretary? Fortunately, I have recorded my lecture myself and at the investigation I produced the recording. I was cleared by the investigation team, but threats on my life were increased. 

“It was an era the white van culture was practising in Sri Lanka. Though I have no fear of my life, I have to think as a father. My kids need a father and I decided to leave the country,” He also said that the Australian government realized his pathetic situation and provided due security in the country. He also admitted that the white van culture is not a myth, but a reality. “It was done by military personnel. If there is a proper investigation over the so-called white vans, I am ready to come forward and give evidence”, he asserted.

Questioned about, the experience in Australia he said that the people in Australia respect the law and are not afraid of police. “But, in Sri Lanka, we are afraid of the police, but do not care for the law”, he said. He also added that just implementing the law is not enough and people should see that the law is implemented.”

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