A simple but dignified ceremony was held at the original memorial for regular Police Constable Tuan Sabhan and Special Constable Geroge Van Haught ( who was under suspension at the time he was shot ) at Utuwankande in the Mawanella Police area organized by the Officer in Charge of Mawanella Inspector Asela Herth and attended by the Deputy Inspector General of Sabragamuwa Priyantha Chandrsiri. and others.
In passing who are these Malays. They came to Sri Lanka in the 13th Century, according to Kalabhusana Halaldeen. They came into the country around 1640-1796 especially to be employed in the security services. and continued to gain confidence among the authorities and the people. and continued to mix with the people as a very silent and peace-loving people
But he was not promoted posthumously by the British rulers, though this has been the tradition in most of the security forces world over. The British did not do so, yet even after Independence, this has not been overlooked, though each year at Police Day Police Constable is remembered.
It was the gunfire of one Bandit Mammalya Marikkar , an acolyte of notorious Deekirlege Saradiel who was sometimes classed as a ” Social Bandit ” who shot at Police Constable Tuan Sabhan.
Both these Bandits with their gangs of followers, have been waylaying the wealthy and distributing the foils to the poor people and they seem to have been complacent of the deeds, but Saradiel and his gang have been maurading the area, like Uuwankande, Kadugannaw, Mawanella, Hingula
lIt is time that the authorities thought of promoting him to another rank, than what he had been . The former President Marthiripala Sirisena wiped out the stigma of ‘ Traitors ‘ dubbed by the British on the Kandyan Heroes. Likewise, it is time to give some thought to Tuan Sabhan who sacrificed his life for the Service and people.
The first policeman to be shot was by Saradiel was on 17th March 1864 George Van Haught, Special constable who was under suspension. In order to gain back his status, Van Haught tried to arrest Saradiel at his mothers’ house when Saradiel shot special constable Van Haught.
Strange as it is Police Constable Tuan Sabhan was not posthumously elevated to a higher rank though some in the same posse were promoted. That then is the Police Service then and today.
Over the years many outstanding Police Officers have sacrificed their lives to protect the citizens of the country, especially during the onslaught of the LTTE. Yet some have sacrificed in vain having been ordered to surrender by higher commands.
In the hamlet of Mawanella, a simple ceremony organized by the Officer in Charge of Mawanella Police Inspector Asela Herath attended by Deputy Inspector General of Sabragamuwa Priyantha Chandasiri and a few officers of Mawanewlla Police did the Honours at the memorial erected in the name of P.C.Sabhan.to remember a regular Police officer who sacrificed his life for the protection of the citizens of the country.
This ceremony went unnoticed to many but to those who have the knowledge under what circumstances the Police worked during 1864 in places like Utuwankanda, with the then notorious Bandit Saradiel, the Police would have given a better deal to the memory of Police Constable Sabhan who was not posthumously elevated.
Bandit Saradiel was born on 25 March 1832 and was sent to Illukgoda Temple for education. Saradiel though intelligent was a quarrelsome lad. He once fought with a boy who happens to be a close relative of an upper-class family. The Police arrested him and kept him at the Police Station, for a week. This was the turning point of his career, it is said.
Saradiel is said to have been at Beligammana Temple in Mawanella. as well. A Catholic by birth When he was in trouble he left to his mother Pitchoamy in Utuwankande. He found a friend Mamalaya Marikkar and both wandered in the areas and looted the wealth of the wealthy and distributed the wealth to poor people. People and damsels of the area liked him as he was distributing wealth from the wealthy. He took to ransacking the Mail horse carriages and in his spree, the Police were unable to track him down.
As usual, a friend of Saridiel, Sirimalee tiped the police when he was in Utuwankanda and he fled twice, but on the third occasion while a police posse which was composed of the Assistant Government Agent F.R.Saunders was on him his accomplice Mammalay Marikkar shot Police Constable Sabhan, who fell and he was the first Regular Policemen to fall from a Bandit, gun power..
Of course, Saradiel and his friend Markkar were found guilty after a Jury trial by Justice Thompson in the Kandy Azzize and sentenced him to death by hanging. They were hanged publicly in order to teach others a lesson as well. at the Hangman’s Hill.
A vivid description of how these two Bandits who terrorized Utuwankanda and whereabouts were in a state of fright is set out in the book by DIG A.C.Dep in his book of the ” Ceylon Police ”
The Saradiel and Markkiar were held till the end of the trial at the former Kandy Police Station where today stands D.S.Sennayake Children’s Library There is not even a Plaque in this place as a historical significance of one of the oldest Police Stations in Kandy. It is time for the Kandy Heritage Committee to launch a project to have plaques to identify he orld sites of importance for posterity..
The proceedings of the Trial is on a type in the like of parchment paper and this was found in the old Court House and then shifted to the present Court Complex. During the Presidency Shanthi Ratnayake PC of the Kandy Bar Association, moved to have the record located from the piles of documents at the Kandy Court House when the Minister of Justice was Ms.Talatha Athukorale. It is said that the Archives department moved in the matter, but nothing seems of have come out of the suggestion. It would be of importance how the proceedings commenced and the material used and the end result by British Justice
The writer had seen the documents when the old records were shifted and shown by one of the peons Wickrame. Then it was put into polythene gunny bags and sent to the Kandy Court complex and it should be somewhere if found would be of utmost importance to the country and to the Judiciary.
Photographs at the Memorial at Utuwankande
1 Laying of flowers
2 The memorial
3. DIG Priyantha Chandrasiri and OIC Mawanella Asela Herath Honours Constable Tuan Sabhan