Police brawn blamed for riot at Agrapatana

An unruly mob surrounded the Dayagama Bazaar police post in Agrapatana Sunday afternoon after policemen there allegedly assaulted a three wheeler driver after his vehicle collided with a police motorcycle in the morning injuring a constable who was on the pillion.

DIG Central Range Nihal Samarakoon told The Island that the situation had been brought under control.

Ceylon Workers Congress President Mutu Sivalingam who rushed to the scene around 4:00pm Sunday with CWC Leader Arumugam Thondaman to calm enraged workers, who surrounded the police post, said they managed to pacify the workers and disperse them around 6:00 pm.

The policemen concerned, a sub inspector and several constables, were to be transferred out and the assaulted driver was admitted to Glenville Hospital, Agrapatana under remand custody.

Sivalingam said the driver was finding it difficult to urinate after the assault.

At least one police jeep had been damaged by the mob, which numbered several hundred.

Police sources said the situation was worsened by the fact that most of the workers had been drunk on account of it being a Sunday.

A retired top police officer said last night that the department was having a new problem in having to post sub inspectors who had led combat platoons as OICs of stations without first gradually demilitarizing them in police work. At least three such OICs are said to be in charge of stations in the central hills.

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