By Mangala Samaraweera -
It was indeed saddening to hear of the savage beating of Mr. Asela Waidyalankara by a group of goons led by a Ministerial Son. While incidents of violence between young people are not unusual, the level of impunity enjoyed by a privileged few and the blatant double standards applied by those supposed to uphold the rule of law in such instances are no doubt unique to the ‘Miracle of Asia.’
This is not the first time Ministerial offspring have acted with such highhandedness nor will it unfortunately be the last. What is important to note is that these are not isolated incidents but part of a culture of impunity that prevail in this country. The family that rules and those who surround them relentlessly use their political and economic power to subjugate others. In a country where the highest judicial officer has been impeached through an illegal process and where senior police officers are ridiculed and humiliated for doing their jobs on a daily basis it is not a surprise that this fate has befallen the son of a respectable senior Police officer. Sri Lanka is a country today that incarcerates its victorious army commander and relegates the nation’s fourth citizen and legitimate Chief Justice to the dustbin of history. With political puppets at the helm of Sri Lanka’s judicial system, what justice can a police official’s son expect when faced with arrogant political power?
The impunity with which Asela Waidyalankara’s assailants have acted and the fact that they continue to get away with their brutal behaviour is also a good lesson for all senior police officials in the country like DIG Waidyalankara. It is a chilling reminder of the fact that despite the rhetoric about war heroes and the forces, when it comes down to the wire, your Secretary of Defence will betray and abandon you if it is a choice between consolidating political power and safeguarding the men who serve under him.
This ugly incident once again reminds us of the humiliation and suffering that ordinary citizens, especially the youth undergo on a daily basis at the hands of ministerial brats and other hangers on of the regime. Though the ruling regime preaches a bright future for youth all they have delivered for the young people of this country is depression and humiliation. While a few privileged sons are racing cars in Colombo, launching satellites at state expense and beating up respectable members of the public, ordinary young men and women are desperately seeking some means to uplift themselves.
We have witnessed murderers associated with the regime walking scot-free, Ministers and their henchmen killing opponents without facing the consequences of the law, senior police officers being transferred on the whims of politicians and senior public servants are insulted by uneducated mouthpieces of the regime singing for their supper.
It is clear by the haste on the part of the police, clearly acting with orders from above, to release Minister Sirisena’s son and the dirty dozen, despite the Government’s recent legislative victory to extend the detention period for a suspect in police custody that the new laws will only be applicable to the regime’s political opponents. At this rate, Sri Lanka may as well have two separate legal systems: one to protect the regime and its loyalists and the other for the rest of the citizenry.
Therefore it should not be a surprise to anyone that those who assaulted Mr. Asela Waidyalanka have been freed on police bail. A man who acted as any respectable husband would have in the wake of a bunch of drunken goons harassing his wife is in hospital today, while his assailants are roaming free. Until we wake up and see the lawless jungle Sri Lankan has become there is no hope of justice for any one of us. This is Sri Lanka’s current tragedy. The plight of young Mr. Waidyalankara is not unique to him, but a symbol of our collective fate in a country bereft of justice and law.