July 04, Colombo: Sri Lanka Army has appointed a five-member Court of Inquiry to investigate the aggressive conduct of an Army officer towards a civilian at a fuel station.
A video clip showing an Army officer kicking a man at Yaggapitiya fuel station in the Dorahitiyawa Police Division has gone viral on social media.
The Army media unit said that the Security Force Headquarters - West on a directive of the Commander of the Army immediately appointed a five-member Court of Inquiry (CoI), headed by a Brigade Commander to go deep into the issue and make its recommendations.
However, the Army said in the video clip the aggressive nature of the Army member was excessively prioritized in Media in order to ridicule him without projecting the violent behavior of the drunken civilian, who was assaulted by a senior officer.
According to the Army, the civilian has now been taken into Police custody, while another civilian had resorted to violence forcing one Army member to seek admission to Embilipitiya hospital with cut injuries.
However, the Army said while they fully understand frustrations and difficulties of the public in the present context, those media clips projecting Army members as a ‘repressive force’ of undisciplined, impolite nature, are being produced by invisible elements serving different agendas of their masters in order to ridicule members of the Army and cause animosity between civilians and Army personnel.
The Army reiterated that its members and members of other services in conformity with provisions of the Army Act on the directions of the government have been called to assist the Police, engaged in coordinating the distribution of fuel stocks at island-wide petrol sheds in the midst of the prevailing crisis.
“Those Security Force members have been compelled to resolve/confront various conflict situations, including some indecent, aggressive and provocative instances, some of which the Police have already confirmed as executed purposely by some elements with vested interests while all the efforts for fair distribution are being made by those troops in a better transparent manner since the Police have sought assistance to control such mobs,” the Army said.
The Army charged that some of the media reports including many social media blogs and video clips going viral, where Army personnel are being humiliated or verbally abused while trying to assist proper distribution of fuel stocks, are intentionally edited or projecting only one side or tail end of the dispute or extracted clips without properly projecting true ground realities.
“Members of the Army and other services at the request of the Police, well aware of the most difficult challenges of the civilians, are day and night committed to their assigned duty roles despite tense and volatile conditions and are tirelessly prepared to serve for the best interests of the civil community all the time,” the Army emphasized.
“Hence, members of the public are very humbly and kindly requested to coordinate with Army personnel with broader understanding and cordial nature since they have been deployed in respective areas for your own safety and protection as you all have admirably done in the past, too,” the Sri Lanka Army said..