23 July, 2024


“Dhang Justice Naah”- Now There Is No Justice

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

When I talked to a Sri Lankan friend about the killings of prisoners which happened yesterday and tried to convince him that people should demand justice, his instance reply was, “ Dhang justice naah”. In the past, this expression meant that there were serious concerns about justice. However, now it has come to mean literarily what it says. It is a statement of fact, of which no one has any doubt.

Regarding the shooting itself, the very first issue is that it should not have happened and would have been avoided if the normal rules and procedures were followed. STF officers should never have been sent to an inspection in a prison. This should have been by prison officers themselves who, if necessary, could have sought the help of civilian police. Experienced officers would have known what to do and how to do it.

That it was done by STF shows that the raid or the inspection was carried out on the direction of Ministry of Defence. Whenever this ministry is involved, killings are usually the result. Earlier killings at demonstrations quite clearly show that.

In any case, those who conducted the inspection should not have carried guns and even, if they did, no live ammunition should have been issued. Further, no shooting should have taken place without the express command of a commanding officer. There should have been an express command not to shoot to kill, but only to use minimum force.

All this and many other questions need to be examined through an impartial inquiry.

However, such an inquiry will not happen and that is one thing about which there can be certainty, going by all the experiences on such matters in recent times.

Now it has come to a point that even the Chief Justice cannot get an impartial inquiry.

All that will happen is that a story will be concocted, blaming the prisoners for bringing about the shooting on themselves. And then that story will be given the full blast of publicity though the state media.

So, who could say that it is wrong to say “Dhang justice naah”

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Firstly the Prisons department had been taken over by the military. The Commissioner of Prisons previously a civilian was replaced by a military officer. This is increasingly the trend where civilian areas are being commandeered by the the military.
    The thinking behind this disturbing trend is that only military and specifically Gota can get things done. Hence military training for politicians, principals, undergrads etc. In other words the civilian or political system of governance is incapable of achieving results hence it has to be supported by the military by providing some muscle or a hidden threat of the gun.
    Now we wittness the impotence of the prison officers, the police and all civilian structures and the use of para military forces to conduct searches and finally quell an uprising killing a few. This should be a warning to those who think that simple solution is to deploy the military for every dirty job.
    Even criminals and prisoners are human beings and have some rights. Treat them decently and provide them with ways of communicating with their families in a legitimate manner instead of caging them like animals.

    • 0

      Time for this Asian Rights group to write to the Commonwealth Organization to ask them to move the 2013 Commonwealth Heads meeting from Colombo to another country and BOYCOTT the RAJAPAKSE DICTATORSHIP and its corrupt Tourism-Military business development model.
      Ethical tourism must be promoted by the International Community and NGOs in Sri Lanka.

  • 0

    The death toll has risen to 27 by now; the final count might be higher. An impartial inquiry might not happen, but need to press for one. Prison conditions are major HR concern of the UN. The whole incident is the result of Prisons being placed under the Defence. HR groups inside the country should take the lead in pressing for an independent inquiry. AHRC could play a role. Unless the present trend of militarisation is not arrested, Sri Lanka will end up under direct military rule. It is not a good approach to analyse the dangers and say nothing would happen.

  • 0

    Another thriller to make people forget the Budget, the CJ the University dons. We are going to have brevet colonels all over including in kovils to perform poojas.

  • 0


  • 0

    This Asian Human Rights Group to move Commonwealth Conference out of Sri Lanka??
    Must be joking.

    AHRC are just pussies chirping for their supper on Sri Lanka.
    Basil F’do knows EVERY THING. just on his last legs on a self glorification promotion.
    With heavy $$ & perks have lost with reality.

    Quote F’do : Regarding the shooting itself, the very first issue is that it should not have happened and would have been avoided if the normal rules and procedures were followed.

    Hello Fernando, it was just last night in Hong Kong at the carribean coast in Tung Chung a policeman opened fire and injured a Westerner who was drunk and having squabble with his girl friend ….
    You have been dumb founded of this incident which took place in the country you operate.. Why ?????
    Does your above quote extend to the Hong Kong Police as well ???

    • 0

      dickey Bird,
      They are not joking.
      SL has no respect for human rights and Rule of Law.
      It has no status to host the CWHR conference.
      AHRC and Basil Fernando are respected human rights activists.
      Employees of AHRC are paid fees/salaries – so what?
      The cause of the shooting is STF trying to recover drugs which were allowed to be given to prisoners by corrupt prison officers – will the latter recover them?
      There was no need for live ammunition to be used.
      First a baton charge,then shooting with rubber bullets would have sufficed – if these were unavailable,shooting below knee level – as was the case in the old days – would have disperced the rioters.
      What happens in Hong Kong is not under the purview of AHRC – they merely have their headquarters there.

  • 0

    The public is aware one of the causes of the Welikada Prison riots of 2 days ago is the nexus between the underworld and leading actors in the regime. Established Underworld Kingpins, Drud-traffickers, Contract killers, dangerous IRCs were openly socialising with Govt VVIPs. Some of them were elevated to the high positions of “Advisors”
    and “Monitors” of the President and Ministries – yet another first to
    the Miracle of Asia. It is public knowledge one of the most outrageous financial rackets of recent times is supposed to have taken place to meet the Singapore medical bills of a well-known drug-trafficker. And that Project having the blessings of the highest in the land is a further proof the integrity of our public life was never lower. It has also consumed the hitherto sublime reputation of the highest Courts in the land must cause pain to all Sri Lankans until recently proud of their dear Motherland.

    It is not only Justice Dhang Naah. It is also Rate Gawravayath marala.


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