The United National Party is appalled at the brutal attack on a policeman allegedly by goons commissioned by a Deputy Minister of the ruling government.
Police Constable Suminda Saman was assaulted and his vehicle set on fire by a group of thugs that the victim suspects to be associates of a Deputy Minister. According to the statement given by the injured policeman, a Deputy Minister had threatened the Constable the previous day when the Minister’s vehicle had been issued with a speeding ticket at the Southern Expressway. The abusive Minister had claimed that instead of issuing booking him for speeding the policeman should worship him because he was a Deputy Minister of this Government. Attempts to force the policeman to do so had failed and the Minister had in no uncertain terms have threatened the victim that he would pay for his ‘crime.’
The tragedy that the case of Constable Saman brings to light is that no citizen of Sri Lanka, not even those tasked with protecting the citizenry and giving effect to the law, are immune from the machinations of political thuggery and impunity. The failure of the police to act in clear cases of political thuggery, either due to influence or fear, has brought the chickens home to roost. No longer are even police personnel safe from politicians and their goon squads.
There have been other victims of similar crimes, and the investigations have always led no where, perhaps because the trail leads too often to the doors of the most powerful in this country. From the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunga in broad daylight in 2009, to the innumerable attacks on media personnel, the Secretary to the Judicial Services Commission during the impeachment saga, to the attack on a group of Parliamentarians of the UNP in Mattala, investigations have only commenced, never concluded. Perpetrators are never prosecuted and impunity reigns.
These tragic incidents are emblematic of the erosion of the law and order in this country, the blatant abuse of power by the government and its cohorts and the day to day indignities that average public servants have to face by goons who rule this country.
The United National Party believes that onus for this travesty of justice must fall upon the Inspector General of Police. Constable Saman is one of his men. Will he stand up to safeguard the security and dignity of his own officer and the thousands of others that must face a similar predicament at the hands of politicians and their affiliates? Will he question the Deputy Minister, will he demand accountability of the political leadership? The IGP must set an example that no one is above the law. Constable Saman’s sole crime was to treat a Minister of the government like any other citizen. He has paid the price for his transgression. Which policeman will ever dare to book a politician for wrongdoing again?
These incidents seem isolated but they are a symptom of the greater destruction of the judicial system in this country. The Supreme Court filled with cronies and lackeys cannot be expected to mete out justice at lower levels. The results of the systematic destruction the judiciary the police and all other democratic institutions by the Rajapaksa regime are now visible for all to see.
The UNP pledges to the police, armed forces and all other public servants that their days of serving a brutish regime are limited. Day by day, the true face of this Government is being exposed. The end is near and it is the people, like Constable Saman who had the courage of his convictions to hold everyone – even a deputy minister – equal before the law that will usher in the change. The people will not have to suffer these indignities long.
*Statement Issued by the United National Party