Journalist Tharindu Uduvaragedara has filed a fundamental rights petition against the Sri Lankan police against forcibly arresting, assaulting, and detaining in the police cell without treatment while returning home after reporting a protest.

He, who is currently working as the National Organizer of the Federation of Media Workers’ Unions as well as the editor of the Whatnews website, had filed the fundamental rights petition on June 12th.

Last year (2023) on July 28, he was arrested and assaulted after reporting a protest in Borella.

The present Inspector General of Police Deshbandu Tennakone, who was the Senior Deputy Superintendent of Police in charge of the Western Province at that time, Borella Police Station Officer Janaka Withanage, and former Inspector General of Police C.D. Wickramaratne and others have been named as respondents in the fundamental rights petition filed by lawyer Manjula Balasuriya on behalf of lawyer Swastika Arulingam.

A case against Tharindu Uduwaragedara has been pending in the Colombo Magistrate’s Court for almost a year, and even at the time of filing the fundamental rights case, the police have failed to file specific charges regarding his arrest in protest.

On June 11, 2024, when the case was heard before the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court No. 2, the police said that more people should be arrested, so they should be given time.

Lawyer Swastika Arulingam requested that if no further criminal charges are filed there, Tharindu Uduwaragedara be released from court proceedings.

Here, the magistrate said that if charges are not filed by the next court session, he will do so.

Since the inauguration of the current President Ranil Wickremesinghe, there have been some incidents of police assaulting, arresting, and harassing journalists.

Since the inauguration of the successor President Ranil Wickremesinghe, there have been many incidents of police assaulting, arresting, and harassing journalists. The report on press freedom issued by the International Federation of Journalists on May 3, 2024, also mentioned the restrictions on press freedom in Sri Lanka and the arrest of journalist Tharindu Uduvaragedara.

Also, Kurunegala journalist Bimal Ruhunage and Bingiriya journalist Dineth Kumara were arrested and remanded in prison. The complaints of both journalists will be examined before the Human Rights Commission.