9 August, 2020

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Democracy Or A Police State? Bathiudeen & Karunanayake Harassed

By S Ratnajeevan H Hoole

Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole

We have the police to uphold law and order, and to support democratic institutions. Unfortunately, there are dangerous signs that they, the police, are a tool in the hands of the government in power. It is as sad an indictment as it is ominous to our democracy.

There is ample evidence that criminal activity by those aligned with the government in power have no investigations going on against them. And then, with the change of government, there is sudden interest in such long forgotten cases. We bystanders are never sure if the police cleared the suspects after investigation and the new government suddenly finds evidence as a vendetta, or there was really a crime and the police suppressed investigations and after the change of government a proper investigation is being launched. Such a state of affairs is bad for democracy and an indictment on the police as a political tool.

Election times are very different. When a politician is seemingly cleared and the investigation is suddenly resuscitated during elections, it is a matter for grave suspicion as an attempt to blacken an opposition politician’s name and make him lose at the polls.

The Pre-Nineteenth Amendment Commissioner of Elections and his successor the Election Commission have been very mindful of this assault on democracy. When investigations are commenced during elections, we are legitimately suspicious of the reasons and have asked for a postponement of the investigations until polling is over. 

Today, we see longstanding cases being dropped during elections. For example, a witness in a case concerning Tiran Alles dropped out citing the inability to give evidence using photocopies without explaining why it took so long to say that. Another example is the naming as a prime suspect of a JMO who died recently and closing the matter when there are others who did the actual killing of Wasim Thajudeen. 

Recognizing the meddlesomeness of these investigations in the electoral processes, the Commission has consistently asked for investigations to be postponed until any ongoing elections are conclded. It can be argued that the people have a right to know before electing their representatives. However, when it is a case that has been dormant for months and even years and is revived during elections, the reasons for that are obviously political and an intervention is urgent. 

Thus it was when Mr. Sriranga of the famous Minnal program was suddenly arrested over a fatal accident years earlier, the Commission asked the police to postpone investigations until the investigations seemingly timed for the then ongoing elections were over. The police thankfully respected that. Similarly, the election authority intervened when Namal Rajapakse and Sarana Gunawardena had long dormant cases revived during elections. We asked for a postponement of the investigations and that was respected. 

Today, we have an investigation into whether Rishard Bathiudeein is connected to the sad events of 21 April 2019. After 15 months, why is this investigation being started as the polls are just 2 weeks away? After waiting 15 months why can the police not wait a mere two weeks more for the polls to be over.

The Commission wrote a strong, unanimously agreed letter to the IGP and asked for the postponement of investigation until after the elections. The CID nonetheless kept asking Mr. Bathiuddin to report at their headquarters. 

Mr. Ravi Karunanayake also received summons reviving the investigations into some alleged corruption on his part. As a pattern of heavy-handed police interference  seemed to be emerging, at the party leaders meeting on 17 July the Commission raised the matter with the party leaders assembled. Several top ranking politicians were present, including Mr. Basil Rajapaksa. They unanimously agreed that the commission’s position was right. Immediately thereafter we wrote again to the police. Today, Sunday, I heard from Mr. Bathiuddin that he is due at a rally in Ampara tonight and the CID wants him to report tomorrow morning in Colombo. 

Have we lost our democracy and our right to free and fair elections?

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Latest comments

  • 19
    35

    Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole,
    .
    Yes…..
    We have lost our democracy and our right to free and fair elections when…..
    .
    #….. a member of the election commission started publicaly harassing GR on 2019 presidential election wrongfully claiming a citizenship issue.
    #….. a member of the election commission wanted to cancel already accepted nominations for the 2020 general election claiming non-existent legal issue.
    #….. a member of the election commission took his self quarantined daughter to the election commission to purposefully disrupt on going election process.
    #….. the RW / MY3 / SP government cancelled or postponed election after election and you desided to turn blind eye.
    .
    Now that we have a DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED honest president in office and a parliament with 2/3 majority on the way there will be no more disruptions to the democratic process.

    • 8
      21

      Sorry
      ….. you decided to…..

  • 20
    18

    What Dr.Hoole writes is only partly true. Only partly because Ravi K was the architect of the bond SC and deserves to be in prison, not just harassed.
    Be that as it may, isn’t Dr. Hoole pushing it a bit too far when he comments on political matters? Doesn’t it make the Election Commission’s neutrality a bit of a joke?

    • 6
      3

      OC
      Thanks.
      I too have commented on this aspect earlier.
      I think that he has the right to express politic views.
      My concern has been about the overlap between entirely personal views and views that seem to represent the EC.
      The best way to avoid confusion/embarrassment would be not to identify himself as a member of the EC in articles that represent his personal opinions.
      The EC should desirably speak in one voice and leave any acrimony to their deliberations behind closed doors.
      Any member can be the EC spokesperson by consent.
      If differences in views are strong and there is agreement to disagree, there are ways for the minority could express dissent.
      When a team indulges in public acrimony, it ceases to be a team.
      Ideally the EC should say the bare minimum necessary, but act firmly.

      • 2
        1

        Would it have been more-better if Vasanthi had spent her money on a stationary shop for a pen and piece of paper and had sent her request to vote for Chitanta government, instead of the University letter head of her? I know you wrote too many comments on that subject, but how many comments or essays you wrote in Tamil for Tamil Media to asking to allow Kurupan to appear for the rebels? Do the Jaffna University professors going to Deva’s political meeting are wearing Burka or those rogues not wearing even amude(Komanam) in those meeting?
        For why in the world the worst hypocrite pretend to be more balanced, sophisticated,elegant gentlemen?

    • 2
      2

      “What Dr.Hoole writes is only partly true.”
      Old,
      What you write is only partly true. Ravi was not the architect of the Bond Game. It was Chitanta Cabal Guy. He invented that open letter of Credits for war imports. Ravi was awarded as the best Finance Minister, by an Asian Institution for reviving bankrupt Central Bank after Chintanta guys sucked it to bottom of the well.

      • 0
        0

        Best Finance Minister! The best Financial joke at the time.

    • 4
      2

      I think Prof Hoole is arguing as an active neutral person as against being a passive neutral person. He is only explaining the reasons for a unanimous decision of the EC.
      That is transparency.

    • 3
      3

      old codger

      The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Civil Aviation Authority of Sri lanka
      placed the following advertisement in the 19 July 2020 Sunday Observer:

      The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation
      Civil Aviation Authority of Sri lanka
      Notice
      Conducting a Research King Ravana and
      Lost Heritage of Aviation Dominance
      Environment, Research and Project Section of the Civil Aviation
      Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) has initiated a research on “The King
      Ravana and Lost Heritage of Aviation Dominance”

      To develop basement for the research CAASL is collecting tangible
      literature related to the King Ravana.

      General Public hereby requested to assist CAASL by Providing
      Documents, Evidence on King Ravana Story.

      Therefore if you have any documents or books related to King Ravana
      and if you like to share these documents with CAASL, please inform
      us via contact 0766317110 or e mail mgrrdp@caa.lk before 31 July
      2020. Suitable payment will be paid.
      Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka
      Np 152/1
      Minuwangoda Road
      Katunayake
      —————————————————————————————————-

      Could Someone Tell Us What this is all about?
      The Country is intellectually so bankrupt, Gota is looking for technology from Valmiki’s myth.
      I suggest let him find interesting technology from
      George Lucas
      Yoda
      Spock
      Bohanantha
      ..

      Science Ninja Team Gatchaman

      • 3
        1

        Native,
        Yes, I’ve been circulating that gem on social media. What a country !
        But wait, they are offering to actually pay money. This is your chance to whip up some YouTube style Free Energy machines.

        • 0
          0

          OC
          Do not get carried away with our glories. Bharat Mata is always a step ahead in such matters. They have already laid claim to the ancient aeronautical wonder referred to in the Ramayana.
          Since the BJP took power under Modi we also have many things with ‘Vedic’ as qualifier that beat commonsense.
          Thanks to Nehru, India had a sane tradition of historiography and modern science amid the superstition that pervades society. It is being fast undone. What is happening to JNU should be am eye opener to us.

          • 2
            0

            SJ,
            Yes, the Indians are not as rational as they used to be, thanks to Modi-ism But the same could be said of the US under Trump.
            However, as far as I know, there is no state sponsored astrology Commission not does the civil aviation directorate do research on ancient aircraft. So they have not yet caught up with us yet.
            You have to remember too that the Indians have a longer
            modern scientific tradition than us. Bose for example was researching microwaves in the 1870’s even before the Europeans.
            But over here, I am driven to wonder if some of our scientists actually believe what they teach their students.

            • 2
              0

              OC
              In the US mad hatters crop up regardless of party loyalty, and it is random event.
              In India the drift has been systematic.
              The first sign of lunacy I knew of was that someone tampered with the Indus Valley seals to transform the majestic looking bull into a horse to claim that the civilization was Aryan. Such academic mischief had the formal blessings of Modi.
              Anti-colonial heroes like Tippu Sultan are being degraded. There is plenty there that drives one mad.
              *
              Yes. Bose was one heck of a great guy.
              He also scientifically established that plants are living things.
              But, unlike Marconi and Tesla, he neither patented his radio communication idea nor make money out of it nor quarrel about originality
              Such scientific spirit is rare.

        • 2
          1

          old codger

          Alright, some Hindians believe their nemesis Ravana not only had the knowledge to build a supersonic heavy lifting drone but the wherewithal to own and fly the machine or maybe a fleet of the Pushpaka Vimana, but it was essentially used in the abduction of a chaste woman. Abduction sound familiar.

          Is Gota looking for the Vimaanika Shastra (a 4th Century BC book) by the ancient author Maharishi Bharadwaaja and translated by Sanskrit professor G.R. Josyer?

  • 14
    3

    Being under a Police State is nothing new to the Jaffna man.
    .
    What is a Police State? It is where the police interpret the laws as they see fit. It is where the police enforces government directives. It is when they fail to enforce the law as it is. It is when the Police exceed their authority. It is when we no longer live under the Rule of Law.
    .
    Jaffna has been a Police State (?) ever since the Government introduced Sinhala Only. Ever since, there was a highly disproportionate number of Sinhala Policemen among a near homogeneous Tamil population.

  • 7
    8

    To the Editor
    Surely, ongoing investigations are a matter for the police and the EC has no legal basis to stop investigations.
    Does the authority to commence OR to continue investigations on candidates transfer from the police to the EC during an election campaign?
    Or, is it a merely a convention to protect the candidates from spurious or mischievous investigations that are intended to discredit candidates thereby influencing the election outcome.
    Can somebody please clarify?

  • 10
    2

    A responsible political party should not nominate a candidate with a dubious past or has investigations pending. If, at least, some of the perpetrators of crime are investigated, there would be a possibility of justice being served as otherwise, once in power, these law breaking politicians can sweep any investigations under the carpet. The voters should have the right to know about the candidates & if the allegations are unfounded, should have the opportunity to defend themselves publicly, instead of keeping them on hold until the election is over.

    I may not be as learned as Dr Hoole when it comes to ‘democratic institutions’ ‘but I am appalled by the choice of thugs & yobs being put forward by self serving political parties, happy to endorse criminals as long as they can get the votes by any means possible, even intimidation. Some of these senior politicians are corrupt to the core & should have left politics in shame instead of coming forward again & again.

  • 8
    4

    Democracy in this sad sorry made shitty by the Rajapuka’s will soon around the corner in a few weeks will be a sour dream.
    =
    Win or lose the above-mentioned scumbags will make it a point to rule ruthlessly with the unbridled help of the fellow murdering of the innocent’s war criminals.
    =
    During the 2015/19 era, there was a semblance enjoyed by the people under the yahapalayana government.
    Now thanks to the nearly 7 million MKR [ Modayata Kimbre Rattharaan ] vindictive royal court foolish fools wasted their holy sacred vote on casting their ballots for the wrong person.

  • 4
    3

    Sri Lanka is battered by nature left right and centre after a historical building was deliberately vandalised by the PM. More to come.

  • 5
    4

    Dear S. C. Pasqual,
    .
    It is in everybody’s interest to have free and fair elections and to have justice prevail.
    .
    I’m sure that Professor Hoole is in a position to see that time and again there have been manipulations by one side (the Rajapaksas) which have been downright unfair. Just before the Presidential Elections, there was that Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha Election which the “Pohottuwa” was bound to win. Out-witting the other side may be legitimate in politics, but this has been taken too far.
    .
    It is not only they who are to blame. It is difficult to pinpoint with who this began. Was it about 1975 when Mrs Bandaranayake didn’t have elections using earlier constitutional changes to continue beyond the five years that she was elected for? J.R. Jayawardena made things worse. I just can’t bring myself the necessary research to prove my point. But see what it came down to:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/was-the-presidential-election-free-and-fair-when-colombo-returning-officer-called-sajith-premadasa-the-son-of-a-donkey-asks-prof-hoole/
    .
    Most of those who take to politics seem to be too concerned with their own egos. Not one of them made any attempt to educate the people on the system of voting.

  • 2
    1

    Prof. Hoole,
    You are completely right that Srilanka is a police state. There is no police or military (Army, Navy, Air force) in Srilanka. These instituions are there to carry out theorders of Political parties who govern the nation. Democracy is dead when a political party represents only one community or race or religion. Srilankan police and military are good at massacring civilians, murdering political and media enemies , making creating fake evidences or destroying or murdering real evidences in courts. The current regime is very active in doing that but the previous regime (Ranil) also did the same without taking no action. Do we have a national Crime Investigation Unit in this country? Are they capable of finding true criminals and brought to justice? No, If they have talented, they should have found Lasantha and Wassim murderers? Even they couldn’t find out Pirabharan after his death. They needed Karuna to find that. Sinhalese think it is their military that won the war with LTTE. In real, Karuna, Indian army, US Navy won the war. Srilankan military only killed innocent civilians and surrendered LTTE. Gotabaya and Basil arranged fake passports for number of LTTE fighters to travel abroad after taking large sum of money.

    • 2
      3

      Ajith,
      “Indian Army” ?????
      They came like Bull Dogs in 1987 to control LTTE Tamil terrorists but failed miserably and ran away like puppies putting their tails in between their hind legs carrying 1,165 in body bags.
      Several countries helped but at the same time several countries exerted pressure to stop the military operation when they realized that Sri Lankan ‘Ranaviruwo’ are going to defeat LTTE.
      Sri Lankan ‘Ranaviruwo’ liberated people in this country including Demala people from the clutches of LTTE Tamil terrorist barbarians who slaughtered innocent unarmed civilians for three decades. Demala people live in peace thanks to Sinhala boys and girls who sacrificed their lives.

      • 2
        2

        Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

        “They came like Bull Dogs in 1987 to control LTTE Tamil terrorists but failed miserably and ran away like puppies putting their tails in between their hind legs carrying 1,165 in body bags.”

        LTTE bata chappals wearing baby brigade fought and got the invaders out of the country while you and your ranaviruses hiding behind your women folks bum. Ranaviruses and their leaders found it safe to hide behind VP’s fat bum.

        Are you by any chance an secret member of LTTE Baby Brigade appreciation Society?

      • 1
        2

        Eagle Eye,
        ‘They (Indian Army) came like Bull Dogs in 1987 to control LTTE Tamil terrorists but failed miserably and ran away like puppies putting their tails in between their hind legs’.
        What an euphoric feeling you reminisce of.
        I won’t be that enthused as you do when India is still listening.

  • 4
    0

    People’s Lives Matter. The killing of an innocent fisherman in Angulana and then taking his relatives to custody and using tactics to influence them tends to justify your contention. Like elsewhere, people should have demonstrated. There are more demonstrations for killing a dog than killing a human being.

  • 2
    0

    Despite the existence of an independent national police commission, the Police are under the clutches of politicians in power. Cases opened up under one regime is closed by the next regime or vice versa. There is no reason to close Wasim Thayudeen just because the doctor who held the postmortem died. Did the prosecution rely solely in one witness?

    In Western countries, the Police force is strictly neutral. No politician/Minister can interfere with the police investigation.

    Not long ago, the Ontario police arrested a youngster on some charges. It so happened the boy’s family was well known to the Attorney General at that time. They must have expressed their concern the boy maybe beaten while in police custody. They took their concern to the Attorney General who went to the police station told the police officers not to treat youngster roughly.

    The next day the newspapers carried headline news claiming the Attorney General interfered in the police investigation. Within the next 24 hours, the Attorney General promptly resigned his post!

    Place the Police force beyond the clutches of the Ministers so that they will act impartially and independently.

  • 1
    0

    Don’t take Dr Hoole seriously. He KNOWS that both of them are thieves.
    Man on the street has better things to worry about than human rights of thieves.


    Soma

  • 1
    1

    somass

    “Man on the street has better things to worry about than human rights of thieves.”

    True.
    They are still awaiting for the delivery of 8 measures of free rice from the moon, Sinhala/Buddhist Buddha’s second coming.

    Did you celebrate the 37th remembrance day of your unforgettable historical event?

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