29 September, 2020

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A Violent Government

By Sanjana Hattotuwa

Sanjana Hattotuwa

Around a fortnight ago, when I interviewed for public television Gomin Dayasiri, I asked him about Minister Mervyn Silva’s public threats to tear apart the limbs of and kill human rights activists. Mr. Dayasiri, a senior lawyer and a well-known supporter of the present government, expressed his confidence that the Police would investigate Minister’s most recent hysteria. Time did not permit me to ask Mr. Dayasiri about the fate of the many Police investigations in the past against Minister Silva’s odious violence and revolting public statements. Given the Minister’s revealing asseveration – not once denied by the President or government – that he derives his power and legitimacy directly from the President and the Rajapaksa’s, it’s hardly surprising they went nowhere. Par for the course then to read reports in the media last week that disciplinary action by the SLFP against the Minister’s most recent hate speech were stalled “because of the lack of support from the party hierarchy for such action”.

The story is interesting for another reason. It notes that because no action can be taken against Minister Silva – acknowledging in other words, that he is above the law – complaints relating to corruption, fraud and violation of party regulations against party members, SLFP members of Pradeshiya Sabhas, Urban Councils, Provincial Councils and Parliament could not be acted upon, even “though a majority of these complaints were well substantiated”. So essentially, even though violent, corrupt and cancerous elements within the ruling party have been identified, nothing can or will be done against them because of the impunity a single individual enjoys.

I cannot believe I am the only one who finds this incredible, outrageous and untenable. The President and trenchant voices in his government never tire calling human rights activists and NGOs traitors, doing and saying things against Sri Lanka. But the level of impunity Minister Silva so publicly enjoys, and worse, shamelessly trumpets, escapes similar reproof. Even within government, this hasn’t gone unnoticed, though no one wants to be named on it. One exception is Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, who noted recently that he was “of the view that no intelligent person could have failed to realise that such pronouncements were immensely damaging to the government, and to the President personally” and that intelligence which he thought basic “could not be expected of Minister Silva”. He goes on to submit that his expression, along with sentiment that violently rejects the West as detrimental to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty is “emphatically a minority viewpoint, and not shared by the vast majority of those in government”.

Prof. Wijesinha may like to believe this, just as much Mr. Dayasiri would like to believe in credible investigations into Minister Silva’s public threats. Both choose to ignore a more disturbing, and indeed, deeply embarrassing reality – the President, for whatever reason, protects Mervyn Silva. In protecting Minister Mervyn Silva – and what is in fact indefensible and possibly illegal – the President in effect projects the Minister’s voice and violence over and above the official policies and practices of government. That neither the President nor his powerful brothers have uttered a single word of condemnation against the Minister strongly suggests they condone his behaviour, and in fact, give him the freedom and legitimacy to continue with it. And seemingly no one, not even high ranking members of the SLFP, will put their name to efforts to hold the Minister in check, even though news reports clearly suggest they have been “embarrassed by the untoward actions and controversial remarks of maverick Minister” and find themselves “extremely helpless” to explain his behaviour. However, it’s not just the Minister. The Secretary of Defence, the President’s brother, has on a number of occasions and with equal impunity, employed a similar violent expression, and during the war years, along with someone now languishing in jail, incited public hate against independent journalists and human rights activists. Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and “kudu Duminda” were not so long ago, leading lights of government.

I take no happiness in noting that contrary to what Prof. Wijesinha submits, it is violence in deed and word that sharply defines this government. Minister Silva is just one of many. This is a systemic problem. We may deserve those we elect, but surely, is this the face of a country – that is and can be more cultured and civil – we want to project to the world, especially post-war? Shouldn’t patriots be worried?

Read Sanjana’s writings @ http://sanjanah.wordpress.com

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Latest comments

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    Mervyn Silva is Mahinda’s PIMP!end of story!

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      Mervyn is also Mahinda’s half brother!!

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        Which one is the bastard?

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    ‘A Violent Government’ is an understatement to express the MR govt. of Wambotta fame, where the past track record of this very Mahinda Percy Rajapaksa is in QUESTION? The only parallel to MR is Premadasa where both resorted to kill people and pay homage at the Temple of the Tooth and Kataragama offering flowers dressed in white beaming with smiles posing for photographs to show the public how pious they are. This mockery made me give up the respect that I had for the two Institutions as I believe there is no devine power to the detriment of such individuals who commit such heinous crimes to be tolerated anywhere near the precints, if they are hallowed as people believe. The situation is even worse when educated individuals who ignore such, as this Gomin Dayasiri, Gunadasa Amarasekara, illbalanced Sinhala Chauvinists and a host of other so called Intellectuals turning a blind eye for what is done and said by the sycophants of this MR regiem. These very individuals are the vociferous critics of Rani Wickremasinghe who brands him as a TRAITOR accusing him of having given on a platter, one third of the land mass of the country and two thirds of the sea front to the Tamil LTTE. Yet, it is not RW who resort to vituperation or abuse in return. The gentleman he is, takes evrything on the stride and conducts himself above all these hoodlum. These so called gentlemen willify RW every turn in support of this monster MR in preferance, as they enjoy position and perks under this corrupt MR regiem. The reason is that RW does not pander to any Professional or Academic as he is learned himself, where as MR is bereft of any and plays up to all these jokers who think they are VIPs in the system. O tempora! O mores!

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    Gamini:
    Thanks for that accurate description of current Sri Lankan reality.

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    One cannot take action against Mervyn. The reason is this. If you, by accident, have a deformed child, you simply cannot lock up the child. When visitors come to your house, you cannot hide the child. All your visitors know about the child. The child may scream obscenities,raise the sarong, urinate in public, grab the private parts of your visitors, and even threaten to break the limbs of the visitors. What would you as visitor to the house do? Complain to the father? What can the father do? Punish the child? When this happens to me I rationalize that thank God, I am not like him and I do not have a child like that and feel sorry for that child and his father.

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      Mervyn Silva is not a child of the government; he is an employee. You can’t sack your child, but you can sack an employee for mis-behaviour.

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    make non violence strong opposition to win elections without writing silly article.

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      Why don’t you do it? do it without writing silly comments! LOL :) :)

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        we recomended sajith premadasa,noel mudalige and sarath fonseka might win with your support.good luck for non violance government.

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    Thug/drug dealer Mervyn has the goods on the Jarapakses. That is the story.

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    Yes,Prof.Rajiva is right,this man is an embarresment even to the president. He may have his own reasons, like Gamini Perera said, for not taking any action against this man or even may be he is doing the bidding of the President who according to some is MARA. This man may one day bring the downfall of this government by his (mis)behavior which no doubt would delight the writer.
    There are other personalities who are as controversial though may not be in the same league as Dr.Silva. Would the writer be brave enough to write about them as well? I suggest you start with another Doctor,Dr. P.Saravanmuttu.

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    This is an excellent article written with intergrity and honesty.Mervyn Silva is the rotten apple.Why the President allow this maniac to remain in the government is a mystry. Is it because all the things this man does (thuggery,corruption,dealing in drugs ect)known to the government and the President? I have no answer.But the will come and truth will prevail.God Bless Sri Lanka.

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    …Luckily You guys the Author Sanjana Haththotuwa and those of you who have commented are all abroad and safe from being White-vanned or eliminated by the establishment…. We on the other hand cannot comment freely, as we will surely fear the consequences….

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    gosl ready to sack mervin, if gamini perera wish to eployee as a pimp.

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    If Ranil Wickremasinghe had allowed this type of hoodlum to carry on or reinstated PB who was convicted by a Court or sent Karuna Aman on a false Passport or hide a murderer as Kudu Duminda at State expense out of the country or committed one hundreth of what MR has done, what will the critics of RW do. Possibly RW will be hung alive at Galle Face Green. But now all these puritans of MR supporters are eating HUMBLE PIE. The only good thing MR has done is to weed about 90% of the corrupt that were in the UNP and take them under his fold.

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