25 October, 2020

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Eliminating The Scourge Of Thuggery

By S. L. Gunasekara –

S.L.Gunasekara

Vasudeva Nanayakkara was, for many years, known and looked upon as a ‘paper revolutionary’  who was ever willing to join in any ‘verbal’ attack on a Government in power. He is, today, an ‘acolyte’/‘hanger on’ of the Rajapaksa family and hence comfortably ensconced in office [at great expense to our long suffering people] as one of that  unbelievably large assembly of invertebrate incompetents known as the Cabinet of Ministers. Even he, however, could not deny the ever-growing scourge of thuggery that is rapidly and inexorably enveloping the country. His purported ‘solution’ to this problem, believe it or not, is to enact legislation to ban what he terms ‘extremist’ parties and prohibit what he terms ‘hate speech’.

The fact that we already have legislation on our Statute Book which, if implemented fairly and with a will to do so, would probably achieve or serve to achieve the object of eliminating the scourge of ‘thuggery’ and that of  ‘hate speech’ from our land has evidently not occurred to this one time ‘paper revolutionary’ turned ‘ineffective Minister’.
Thus:-
a) Article 12(1) of the Constitution which is to be found  in the Chapter dealing with Fundamental Rights provides that:-
“All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law”; while,
b) Section 120 of the Penal Code provides that:-
“Whoever by words, either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, or otherwise …attempts to …promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of such people, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.”
[It is evident from the context in which the term “such people” is used that it refers to “the People of Sri Lanka”.]
Can even Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara allege that Article 12(1) of the Constitution is being implemented and/or that a determined effort is being made to implement it ???  Obviously he cannot. The myriad examples of his ministerial colleagues, such as the synthetic ‘Doctor’ Mervin Silva;  ‘Ministerial Brats’; political supporters of the President and other Ministers committing the gravest of offences with the greatest of impunity  and getting away with it prevent him from doing so. It is tragic but true that even  some Buddhist Monks have been  members of belligerent mobs of civilian thugs trespassing upon and committing,  mischief upon places used by Christians and Muslims as places of worship. These facts are undeniable, particularly because some of the transgressions of such persons are made patently evident from video tapes containing photographic evidence of such acts of blatant thuggery committed by them with impunity in the presence of police personnel who were, as was to be expected in this day and age, doing nothing to prevent or restrain those thugs from committing criminal acts.
It need hardly be added that the pathetic conduct of these apologies for police officers was quite as bad as that of their contemptible counterparts at the infamous Provincial Council ‘election’ for Wayamba held in or around 1999.  One does wonder whether the superior officers of such police officers will get or have got promotions as did those who were in charge of that Wayamba Provincial Council ‘election’.
The conduct of police officers, in particular, in looking the other way when highly politically connected persons or those with affiliations to the ruling party commit offences is not of region origin.  One would recall how in the immediate aftermath of the 1970 elections, a group of Members of Parliament of the newly-elected ruling party, the United Front, who were purported to be ‘Marxist’ in political orientation,  took part in a physical attack on Lake House and were not arrested or even restrained though the crime was committed in broad day light in full view of many a Police Officer.  It is also significant in this regard that none of those miscreants ever dared to attack that institution while they were out of power.  Another good example of this kind impunity of those in power and the failure or refusal of the Government to implement article 12(1) of the Constitution is to be found in the infamous referendum of 1983, and the thuggery that followed upon the victory of the United National Party at the general election of 1977. [Although the Constitution containing Article 12(1) had not been enacted then, it must be remembered that Article 12(1) reproduced a basic tenet of the Rule of Law which every Government since ‘Independence’ purported to (but did not) hold sacrosanct]. Quite apart from these horrific events are the events of a smaller but of a like contemptible nature such as the conduct of ministerial brats who ran amok committing acts of thuggery at night clubs etc without any or with only minimum intervention by the Police.  It is also significant that these ministerial brats so misbehaved only when their parents held ministerial office and not when they were out of office.  Clearly they too knew that political ‘connections’ caused the Police to look the other way when acts of blatant thuggery were committed.
Thus, the answer to the wave of thuggery that is fast enveloping our Country is not to pass new laws which will doubtless, hit the headlines and give publicity to the relevant Minister, but contribute nothing in actual fact to the elimination of this scourge, but  in implementing the laws that are already there.  In short, a Minister or a son of a minister or even the son or kith and kin of the President must be treated in the same way as an unemployed and indigent individual or his children or his kith or kin. This is what  is mandated by Article 12(1) of the Constitution and the ‘Rule of Law’ which all Governments have purported to hold sacrosanct but only honoured in the breach.
Similarly, Article 35 of the Constitution which confers immunity on the President from the legal process must be repealed forthwith. However, since finding a Minister to propose such a measure will be more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack, thoughts of such repeal must remain a distant and unattainable ‘dream’
As I see it, the search for a ‘political solution’ for the so-called ‘ethnic conflict’ in the Country misses the wood for the trees.  If Article 12(1) of the Constitution is implemented,  then there will never ever be a need for the devolution of power,  or another ‘circus’ like an ‘All Party Conference’ and other such time wasting exercises.
We in this Country do not, in practice,  have the right which we ought to have to expect the law enforcement officers to enforce the law and the judiciary to deal with the offenders strictly according to their merits and not according to whether they are politically connected or not. It must here be remembered that many a criminal case is ‘won’ or ‘lost’ at the investigation stage when evidence is gathered and statements are recorded, so that a Court, which has no inquisitorial role to play is often ‘hamstrung’ in doing justice by the nature of that which is served up to it in the form of ‘evidence’.

Tragically, the Police Service which was once the Police Service of the Country has now been ‘bribed’ and ‘bludgeoned’ into being the  Police Service of the ‘Ruling Party’. Apart from the contemptible politicians who did the ‘bribing’ and ‘bludgeoning’, the blame for this pathetic state of affairs must rest on the shoulders of those senior police officers  who submitted to such ‘bribing’ and ‘bludgeoning’ and willingly ‘sold’ their ‘honour’ for 30 pieces of Silver. If Senior Police Officers such as those who received and accepted promotions for acting in dereliction of their duty acted like officers and gentlemen, did their duty, refused such promotions and set an example in rectitude to their subordinates, we would not be in our present pathetic plight.

The gross inequality in treatment of citizens and people of this Country transcends differences in ethnicity, religion etc.  The hyperbole utilised by the likes of Sampanthan and others when alleging ill-treatment of Tamils by the Government notwithstanding,  no Tamil who is close to the Government has any cause to complain or make a complaint about purported victimization for being a Tamil.  Indeed, such a Tamil would have, in practice, “rights” over and above those enjoyed by a Sinhalese or a Muslim.  The quantum of rights a person enjoys today is dependent very largely on his personal wealth and/or his connections or attachments to the Government in power – the situation is the same in this regard whether the person concerned is a Sinhalese, a Tamil, a Moor or any other.  This regrettably is not something that is peculiar to the incumbent Government but a practice that has gone on from government to government – as I had occasion to say repeatedly the transgressions of one Government are increased by the next in geometrical progression, whose members/supporters cite the conduct of the previous Government to justify their own wrong-doing.
The implementation of Article 12(1) of the Constitution and the laws of the land with fairness and firmness must necessarily bring to a halt the scourge of thuggery that is fast enveloping in our land – but that is something which those within the corridors of power must have the guts, the commitment to the Country and the political will to implement.
Before parting the subject of thuggery within Sri Lanka I must leave behind one thought.  Today whether one is a supporter of the Government or not, one cannot be blind to the fact that the Government has under its patronage a vast array of thugs who are always ready, able and willing to jump to do its bidding in return for the rewards they expect to get for such sycophancy.  This apart the Government depends largely on the armed might of the Armed Forces and the Police to control the people and remain in power.  The obvious danger to which those cocooned in power seem oblivious is this – what will happen when those thugs and sycophants in uniform and out of uniform realise this fact and decide that they have committed enough crimes on behalf of others and seek to take control of the Government for themselves.  That this is a very real possibility is a sobering thought to which a considerable degree of consideration must be given and action taken accordingly. However it is regrettably something that appears to have evaded the minds and thoughts of those in the corridors of power.  They are doubtless too busy enjoying their ill-gotten gains to ponder upon such unpleasant realities.
What I have said above relates to internal thuggery – i.e. thuggery by people and bands of people within the Country.  Today however we are faced with thuggery from external forces.  We have seen this happening particularly at the last session of the UNHRC and the various statements that are being made by various so-called dignitaries of foreign countries.  Everyone of them appears to have or to express even if they don’t have any, ideas about how this Country should be run.  It matters not if they merely express such views in a purely theoretical sense. However, they back up the expression of these views with the flexing of muscles and the rattling of chains.  Thus we find the Foreign Minister of United States, John Kerry, threatening an aid cut of 20%. Similarly we find various foreign governments led by Canada (our supposed friend!!!) calling for a boycott of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting that is scheduled to be held in Colombo or a change of venue and/or the expulsion of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth because we do not conduct ourselves in the way in which they want us to. However, not one of them has, to this date, made similar noises about United States of America and the thuggery they practise in all parts of the world; about the violation of the human rights of detenues at the Guantanamo Bay torture facility etc. Not one of them has yet sought the expulsion of Britain from the Commonwealth for behaving like  America’s lapdog which it is, and having been particeps criminis in the foul invasion of Iraq on the fraudulent pretext  that there were in that Country, `Weapons of Mass Destruction’.  Not one of them has called for the expulsion of the once ‘Great’ Britain from the Commonwealth or from Councils of the Commonwealth for its part in the murders of hundred of thousands or millions of Iraqi civilians  on Iraqi soil pursuant to their invasion. Not one of them took any steps against India for training, arming & equipping terrorists to commit murder & mischief in Sri Lanka.  Not one of them took any steps to cause an international awareness of the thuggery of the LTTE and to rein in assistance being given to them either morally or materially even when it was a known fact that they were regularly committing mass murders and kidnapping children and abducting adults on a daily basis either for slave labour in their terrorist cadres or for ransom.  However, these hypocrites now purport to sit in judgment over us, and we regrettably, have no option but to accept the situation because today both within and without Sri Lanka ‘might is right’.

Until such time as this situation is changed and ‘right’ becomes once more that which is ‘right’ by objective standards, and not that which is supported by ‘might’, the gross inequality among countries and the peoples of countries that are affluent and powerful on the one hand and the people of countries such as ours will not be remedied and will remain in the contemptible state in which it is.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    A timely article for everyone, including Vasudeva Nannayakkara (perhaps the best of the bad lot) to know that we have the required legal framework to protect all citizens. I hope the Muslim Congress in their discussions with the Government will insist on an end to those who do not accept that all people of Sri Lanka are entitled to equal protection of the law. The last straw is the appointment of a murder suspect as an organiser of an electorate by the governing party.

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    President has already started the Elimination of “The Scourge Of Thuggery” by making arrangements to release Duminda Silva from the Remand Hospital.

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    Too little too late, SL. Were you asleep whilst all this was taking shape? Now let’s put our money where our mouth is, shall we?

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    Well said.
    Police are the “official” thugs – they disrupt even peaceful protests.
    In the north and east,the army carries out this ‘function’.

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    Today’s Daily Mirror front page shows a picture of senior police officer saluting DUMINDA SILVA!

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      Although its real comic forget that part. Duminda silva went to TT to meet his boss straight from the hospital. what does that says? Gonraja is cuddling every IRCs, Drug peddlers and Murderers. Further more he and his beloved bro made a Satan called BBS.
      How long can they go further.

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    The rule of the thugs and mobsters as ephitomised by Mervin and Duminda Silva, the darlings of the President. Things that cannot be done legally are done illegally through such loyal followers. In return a free hand to make money by drugs, abductions, extortion, smuggling etc.

    BBS is given a free hand to stir the pot of hatred. Keep the embers of patriotism and nationalism burning ever so bright.

    The writ of the law does not cover these exalted beings. the police snap to attention and even lend a helping hand. Such is the situation in Sri Lanka which is going to chair the CHOG for the next 2 years. Only the blind asses like Kamalesh Sharma cannot see these going ons.

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    Too late S.L

    where were you all these time,now your waking up because the Sinhala people are getting affected but when the Tamils were at the receiving end your were the cheerleader and shows the hypocrite that you are

    it reminds me of a poem by Martin Niemöller

    First they came for the Tamils and S.L didnt speak up because he was not a Tamil

    Finally when they came for S.L there was none to save him!
    (with apologies to Martin Niemöller )

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      What about you?,
      where wre you at that time??????,

      loading armloads to kill civilian tamils sinhalese and muslims.

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    Sir, Vasu the firebrand was an honorable man. He shouted, screamed and cried for the communist and socialist brothers in the past. But as of now he has jioned the wagon, as Plato put it plain ” the price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” i think never can vasu and his likes ever justify the role they have played in politics, other than mislead the poor masses over all these years the good lord kept them in his care and safety.

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      Mohomed;

      I can remmember, when i was a student member of SLSSP from far away village school, we atended a May day rally at Thimbirigasyaya park, col 5 in 1970s.
      our senior student leaders ditributed some leaflets critizising Of ANURA BANDARANAYEKE.
      Suddennly there came the Maha kalu sinhalaya [Kolvin R de Silva]shouting at all of us.
      because he was annoyed as it was insulting his support to SLFP guvernment.

      then our seniors went looking for The socialist student’s leader , this COMRADE HERO VASU.

      but they couldnt find him as he has already run away from the group.

      so i like what you mentioned.

      “I think never can vasu and his likes ever justify the role they have played in politics,”

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        J.Amare… the tragedy of the Ceylon then and Sri lanka now is that the best of brains in politics,science,economics are in the wrong side of the political fence. first it was the Communist fence and now its the Chintana fence. I dont’t have to spell the names, but when one reflects on the past 60 years of Ceylon/Srilanka polictics he or she will know the tragedy that has taken place.We are in a land of no return.

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    The writer, who is perhaps conversant with constitutional and other forms of law in Sri Lanka seems to be ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room when elaborating points of law and his disappointment at their lack in practice.

    I would suggest that he see the larger picture of the degenerative evolution of social norms, ethics, standards of morality and value systems over the decades, and frame his complaint within the scope of this holistic paradigm rather than discuss law in the abstract.

    That way, his argument will perhaps seem relevant to the present discourse and social context.

  • 0
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    If Vasu and other “Comrades” read this presentation by SL, they will in one voice say:

    “SL, you are a bloody fool. Don’t you know that the GOD gives only “one chance” and it is upto he/she to make the most out of it. We saw the opportunity and grabed it, because this is the last chance. So we pray to that “GOD” on a daily basis and no one can blame us, but follow our example and join the line up. However, we feel sorry for you.” AMEN.

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    Mr Gunasekera,

    What you clearly are failing to appreciate is that the biggest thug in Sri Lanka responsible for the widespread internal thuggery affecting Sr Lanka does require external thugs to counter him. The ruling thug family only understands thuggery so don’t complain about the external thugs who are trying to teach the Rajapaksa thugs a lesson or two about the rules of thuggery.

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    SL you did try hard to join the bandwaggon of ‘invertebrate incompetents’ on the JHU ticket. Remember how you were spewing hatred towards the minorities-targetting specially the muslims- during your campaign. Go back and listen to your speeches over the TV to refresh your memory. JHU dropped you like a hot potato as you didn’t belong to the Sinhala Buddhist majority. We still remember watching you crying shamelessly. Hats off to Vasudeva who was never a RACIST.

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      Cant agree with you more Sara. Me too still remember this very same old hate monger SL though now bankrupt hence weeping. SL, you Nalin Silva Goo Amarasekera & that mad fellow Tilak Karunaratne are totally TOTALLY responsible for today’s chaos with your that failed project Weeravidhana headed by Soma and funded by third class businessmen/women.
      Go back listen to your TV interviews and see what kind of a hate monger you were. Iam so sure you are still. You all are viruses. You all should be eleminated once and for all. There is not difference between you guys and Taleban and Shive sena.
      You all will pay for what you did and pay DEARLY.

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        I agree with you 100%
        this chap SL was a real hate monger during CBK’s time when she tried to solve the ethnic issue

        i remember very well in year 2000 when SL got into the parliment via the JHU and got kicked out ASAP as he was not a Buddhist serves him jolly well and the fellow is crying now

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    SL you did try hard to join the bandwaggon of ‘invertebrate incompetents’ on the JHU ticket. Remember how you spewed hatred against the minorities – specially targetting the muslims- during your campaign. Go back and listen to your hate speeches on TV to refresh your memories. At the end, JHU dropped you like a hot potato because you did not belong to the Sinhala Buddhist majority. We remember watching you crying shamelessly. Hats off to Vasudeva who was never a RACIST.

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      Hats off for Vasudewa is alright for never being a RACIST, I like the man too. But why did he betray his policies and licking the stinking boots of this resident? Vasu isnt a rogue then why he is strenghtning the fake king’s hands? Vase wery well knows who was this fake king? Why should he go to that cheap level and sitting on the same side with Paba, Malini Fonseka, Mervin Silva, Sangili Panikkiya, Virus Champika, Kehelmal walla, Basil (actually who is basil?) Johnston, Duminda etc? does he deserve this?
      Shame on you Vasu! You are man with a high profile character, coming from a good, rich, educated background. I feel sorry for my country when people like YOU betray the people. Isnt it pathetic?

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    LET US BE FAIR. PEOPLE CAN CHANGE.S.L. IS A DECENT MAN

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      Decent man? Are you in Srilanka? No idea you know him but if not please refer to a friends who knows him. SL was probably still is a pukka RACIST.

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    SL you talk about Vasu…at least Vasu speaks in one of his official languages whenever he addresses the supreme court. You on the other hand always jabber in English in the courts and then tell all your raciest ideas to poor people and get them to the street to fight for Singhala country. You and JHU are responsible for this mess as Sara has very correctly said. Vasu was never a racist and today he has raised the voice against Gota’s BBS within the government and pressing it along with other Muslim members in the UPFA…..He has also organized Singhala, Tamil and Muslim communities in Matale and gone on a “Peace Walk” over the weekend (on the same day we had our unity rally)….what have you done other than writing this BS articles…..Did you even go for the Unity Rally or for the Vigil against BBS…..

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      Vasu might have his faults but he was never ever a racist or communalist like the vindictive S L Gunasekera who even though an educated man spewed hatred against the minorities that he would have put even the lowest IRC fellow to shame such was the low type of vicious behaviour from SL Gunasekera

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    Vasu is lawyer and should know it well.

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    Mr S.L. Gunasekera’s remarks are thought provoking. He has
    the freedom and the right to say what he wants and his views
    have to be respected.Please remember this gentleman is not a
    crook or a bribe taker. That is why he is able to say what he
    wants without fear or favor.

    Today, there is a new era. The Police Officers stand to
    attention and salute a murder suspect. The Commander in Chief
    grants him an audience. People light crackers and afford him
    welcome ceremonies.

    Why talk about a rule of law or law and order. It is there only
    for one segment of the population – those who support the government.
    For others, there are the white vans, kitul batons, police batons and
    goon squads.

    This is why we are the Wonder of Asia. The rest of the world wonders!!!

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    HL I appreciate a lot of what you say. However, your attempt to bring in the UN agencies into the thuggery class as ‘external thugs’ is ridiculous. If not for the UN and West the Rajapakse thuggery would have gone deeper into any bottom.Furthermore, when you choose to attack everywhere you target no one. I think ,for all your bravado you are also scared of the family

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    SL I appreciate a lot of what you say. However, your attempt to bring in the UN agencies into the thuggery class as ‘external thugs’ is ridiculous. If not for the UN and West the Rajapakse thuggery would have gone deeper into any bottom.Furthermore, when you choose to attack everywhere you target no one. I think ,for all your bravado you are also scared of the family

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    Duminda was paralysed the week before his bail out. He is now back in his seat as suoervisor of Defence Ministry. Gota got him there and so it is easy to the link.This is the most evil government in our history

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