Quick action by Gnanalatha Ranasinghe Ramanayake, mother of a 22-year-old youth abducted by an unidentified group of persons including policemen at Malabe on Tuesday afternoon, and swift intervention by Textile Industries Development Minister Mahinda Ratnathilake saved her son’s life.
She has called for the intervention of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to ensure a thorough inquiry into the incident.
Speaking to The Island, yesterday, a weeping Ramanayake said that a vehicle bearing GC 0343 released to the Police Department had been used by the gang to abduct her son, Nipuna studying at the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT). She said, the vehicle waiting inside the SLIIT premises had followed her son and the gang had bundled him into the vehicle at gunpoint.
Although the gang had wanted to abduct another SLIIT student identified as Chamil Madura, it left without him.
Madura told The Island that he still didn’t know why anyone wanted to harm them. "One of them pointed a weapon at me before taking away Nipuna," he said.
She said that she had received a telephone call from a staffer of the SLIIT on Tuesday (August 4) around 3.30 pm. "He first wanted to talk to my husband and as he was away, I was informed of Nipuna’s abduction," she said. According to her, another student who had noted down the number of the vehicle used by the abductors contacted police emergency on 119. She said the family was grateful to SLIIT staff for lodging a complaint with Athurugiriya police and taking immediate action to locate the missing boy. "We contacted Minister Ratnathilaka as we, too, are from Ratnapura," she said, adding that alerting 119 and the Athurugiriya police prevented a tragedy.
She said they would also lodge a complaint with the Athurugiriya police. Quoting Nipuna, now warded at Ward No 23 of the National Hospital, she alleged that a senior police officer’s son accompanying the abductors had called his mother over the phone and told her that they would be bringing her a present.
Nipuna’s mother said the gang had blindfolded Nipuna’s and taken him to a house where he was beaten brutally. "He had been systematically assaulted by men while a woman had kicked him on his head. She had jumped on Nipuna’s body asking him whether he could bear her weight."
The gang had repeatedly asked Nipuna about whereabouts of two other boys, Nipuna’s mother said. "They tied my son’s hands together, hanged him and then assaulted him again," she said claiming that now an attempt was being made to link Nipuna with two other boys who, the police alleged, had been involved with the underworld.
Subsequently, the Ramanayakes had been asked to come to a special unit, where a badly beaten youth was handed over to them. She said though the police said that it was a case of mistaken identity, the police department should conduct a thorough investigation. "Even if it was a case of mistaken identity, why on earth did they take Nipuna to a private residence instead of a police station?" she asked. The Inspector General of Police should find why the police had involved a woman in the so-called investigation.
She said her son was a keen sportsman and never got into trouble with the police or anyone else. She dismissed allegations that the police had intervened after Nipuna assaulted the police officer’s son. Had they checked with SLIIT, they would know that her son had left the premises minutes before the abduction after facing a written examination, she said.
The police have also inquired into whether Nipuna’s mother had objected to her son having an affair with a colleague who recently left for the UK. Mrs. Ramanayake said that though they liked the well educated girl they felt that the time wasn’t opportune for a love affair but it couldn’t be in anyway connected to the assault.