by Norman Palihawadane
The general public seeking police assistance to combat the spate of nighttime robberies plaguing the new Kelani Bridge face an additional hurdle: an ongoing jurisdictional battle between the Grandpass and Peliyagoda police stations.
Numerous individuals have fallen victim to thefts of mobile phones, jewelry, and cash in recent times on the new Kelani Bridge, perpetrated by a combination of robbers and drug addicts. Despite continuous reports to law enforcement, the absence of CCTV surveillance and a dedicated police post at the location remains conspicuous. Police have been apprised of the ongoing nefarious activities transpiring in and around the vicinity of the new Kelani Bridge.
Complainants who have suffered robberies express their frustration with the discord between the Grandpass and Peliyagoda police stations. This bureaucratic tug of war forces them to shuttle between the two stations in order to file their complaints.
In a recent incident, a school student returning from an LPL cricket match at the Khettarama Stadium fell victim to a brutal assault by robbers. Accompanied by a friend, the student was ambushed by a group of four assailants who demanded their cash and mobile phones. When the students resisted, the robbers launched a physical attack, resulting in one student managing to escape while the other was left beaten and robbed of his wallet and a mobile phone valued at approximately Rs 250,000, according to police reports.
In response to parental complaints, the Grandpass police swiftly acted, conducting a successful raid that led to the apprehension of two suspects. During police questioning, one suspect revealed they had sold the stolen mobile phone for a mere Rs 30,000. Prompt police action resulted in the recovery of the phone and its subsequent return to the rightful owner.
The commendable efforts of SI Jeewantha Shalvin, CDB OIC Nisshanka Wijeratne, and PC Ratnayake (30441), who orchestrated the raid, were praised by Colombo DIG Jagath Chandrakumara.
Highlighting the urgency to address the rising tide of crime, Grandpass OIC HH Harison acknowledged numerous reported robberies in the area. Steps have been taken to combat this menace, including several recent raids resulting in the apprehension of drug addicts and the recovery of contraband heroin, OIC Harrison noted.
Recognizing the multiple police stations responsible for the area in question, OIC Harrison initiated discussions with fellow OICs from neighboring stations. Their collective aim is to formulate a collaborative strategy to eliminate crime and deter further robberies, thereby enhancing public safety in the vicinity.