Turning 100, a significant milestone, says ASP Abdeen | Page 3 | Sunday Observer

Turning 100, a significant milestone, says ASP Abdeen

6 November, 2022
The police officers of the Muthur Police Station, 1948. Abdul Rahman Abdeen as a Sub Inspector of Muthur police.  (fourth from left on top)
The police officers of the Muthur Police Station, 1948. Abdul Rahman Abdeen as a Sub Inspector of Muthur police. (fourth from left on top)

Retired Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Abdul Rahman Abdeen celebrated his life lived well for 100 years on Tuesday. His four sons, Faiq, Faheem, Riyaz, and Fazal, and daughter Frayal along with their mother, Sithy Kyes had organised a birthday party for their century-old dad at the Mandarina Colombo hotel to felicitate his life’s journey.

Turning 100 is a significant milestone that allows one to join the exclusive club of senior citizens. Abdul Rahman Abdeen has reached this magical number, not without pitfalls in life. He endured several surgeries in his life before he made it. He looks healthy today and stands to receive accolades and admiration from the Police Department.

Inspector General of Police, C.D. Wickramarathne has sent his best wishes to Abdeen on his centennial birthday. Many other high-ranking police officers and senior police officers from the Retired Senior Police Officers’ Officers’ Association and many other police organisations have done the same. Senior Police officials said that they, too, have separate plans to honour the retired police centenarian.

Overall, it was a joyful reunion of the Abdeen families and their friends. Riyaz and Faheem, the veteran police officer’s two sons, had travelled from overseas to congratulate their parents. Faheem had travelled from Switzerland with his wife Anna to Sri Lanka. Riyaz had traveled from Australia. They said their sister Frayal from Australia could not make it to the dinner due to her studies.

Fazal’s granddaughter Eman (13), Abdul Rahman Abdeen’s granddaughter, delivered a brief speech at the party, expressing her joy and pride in having a grandfather who had lived for 100 years. Abdeen has five grandchildren living in Norway, Indonesia, Australia, Switzerland, and Sri Lanka.

Abdeen was born in 1922 to a humble family in Peradeniya. In his youth, he possessed athletic abilities and participated in numerous inter-school sporting events, bringing honour to his school and village.

He joined the Police Department as a Sub Inspector in 1948 and retired in 1979 as an ASP. When asked what would be his advice to a policeman concerning how he should carry out his duties by the public to maintain law and order, Abdeen said the best service a police officer can give to the public is that he discharges his duties impartially.

“As a retired senior police officer today, I do not think about my performance of police duties in terms of what I did to the police as a policeman, but rather what I did to the public,” he said.

Abdeen was the OIC of Mutur, Koddiyarpattu Police Division in the Trincomalee District from 1961 to 1966. He remembered how Sinhalese, Muslims, and Tamils lived in greater peace and harmony in Mutur. “They were simple people. Among them, Muslims were the poorest. The people engaged in fishing and farming for a livelihood. They did not have any leaders, lacked good education or solid socio-religious foundation”, he said.

“Carrying out police duties was not at all difficult in these areas. I spent time helping people to understand Islam and inspiring all communities on the value of religious co-existence. I gathered people of leadership stature in Mutur and discussed their problems with them. These discussions led to establishing the Muthur Progressive Society,” he said.

His law enforcement career mirrors an incident that took place in 1971. Abdeen was the OIC of the Maharagama police station. He reflected on how he brought an attack carried out by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna insurgents under control on the Maharagama police station.

“I took steps to arrest over 100 JVP insurgents without inflicting a single death. A police constable died, and I and fourteen others suffered injuries in the incident. It was ASP Amarasekera who came to our rescue from Mirihana.

“The attackers threw bombs at his jeep. They damaged it, injuring the ASP. Crawling, I reached the jeep with the injured ASP, took him out of the jeep, rushed to the police station, and gave him first aid. We saved him.”

“The JVP attack on our police station continued for five hours from 11 pm. They were in blue uniforms. We arrested five of them that morning and later arrested all responsible for the attack, “he said.

Abdeen had arrested their group’s leader, fleeing along Dam Street in Pettah after a chase. The police arrested Kalu Lucky near the Supreme Court.

“Kalu Lucky was trailing me before he got arrested,” he said.” We apprehended Dewa Bandara in Moratuwa Town. We took a certain bhikkhu into custody who had suspicious documents in his possession. He was hiding in the ceiling of a house on Pamunuwa Road, Maharagama.”

Abdeen explained how he managed to repulse the JVP attack: “A day ahead of the attack, a person had come to the police station and warned the police about it. The public confidence in the police restores confidence in the police to execute their duties.”

“Acting on this information, I carried out a search with the help of the police dogs. I detected a large number of bags containing hand-made bombs. They had concealed them under rainwater drains and near schools. They had stationed them around the police station, along the High-Level Road and the railway stretch.”

“The insurgents had planned to capture the station. A part of the plan was to hang me in public at the junction. Then they will possess all the police weapons, and will thereafter attack Temple Trees with those firearms and ammunition. We thwarted their working as a unit.”

Abdeen was later stationed at the Kollupitiya Police Station from 1971-1972. He was promoted to the rank of ASP in 1972 while he worked in the Nuwara Eliya District.

Abdeen is happy about his Retired Senior Police ‘Officers’ Association membership. “It gives me the feeling that I still belong to the police,” he said.

Abdeen lived through period World War Two. “I remember Japanese zero fighter planes flew above us. I did not take any part in that war. But I remember digging trenches in some places for people to take shelter in case of a bombing.

When sirens blared, the people rushed to the trenches.

Abdeen has printed and published four books depicting the word of the Quran, in Sinhala, Tamil, Arabic, and English, on topics such as the Weapon of the Believer (Duas of Success) and Prayers (Salat) and Allah’s blessings.

He said he believes that his faith in the Almighty helped him get through each day until he passed the hundredth year.