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In the aftermath of an attempted abduction attempt on a student activist, the Ministry of Law and Order has instructed the Department of Police to notwithstanding the Police Ordinance issue a new circular with fresh instructions, guidelines on how to handle situations where arrests have to be made.

Recently, an attempt akin to the infamous white van abductions was made in relation to taking anti-South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine activist, Convener of the Medical Faculty Students Action Committee, Ryan Jayalath away forcibly. Although the Police have since stated that all those present at the location where the abduction was attempted were from the Department, the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) is of the belief that outsiders (dressed in civilian clothing) not belonging to the Police too were involved.

According to Assistant Secretary of the GMOA, Dr. Haritha P. Aluthge, Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnanayaka had acknowledged that the Police Ordinance was archaic and had instructed the Inspector General of Police to issue the said circular as part of a long term approach to a correct procedure to be adopted in relation to how Police officers should act in situations including when making arrests and with the view of preventing the Police from mishandling such situations.

The investigation report into the said incident is due in early August. Meanwhile, according to the GMOA, protesting students who were in remand custody against whom no specific charges had been framed were likely to be enlarged on bail.

“We hope that the Ministerial inquiry report would be an independent one. Ratnayaka informed that he had not ordered the students engaged in a peaceful demonstration at the Lipton Circus to be dispersed. This is a cause of concern and alarm. We were under the impression that only Ratnayaka gave instructions to the Police. If it was not Ratnayaka, who was the other Minister who ordered such,” he queried.