17 April, 2024


Ruling Ideology, State Accountability & Forgotten Citizens In The Discourse Of National Security

By Anushka Kahandagama –

Anushka Kahandagama

The upcoming presidential election in the country has made social media a platform for heated political debates. The ‘national security’ has become a crucial part in these debates. At the same time, there are ideas coming to the fore concerning the ‘scale of violence’ performed by individual leaders, political parties, or groups. These two entities, ‘national security’ and act of violence’, are in no mean can be separated from each other. The unleashing of force by the state, against a group of people, a community or an individual is often being justified in lieu of national security.

In social media, while many discuss 1988/89 youth insurrection in relation to the presidential campaign debate, blaming one side and aiming for votes, the problem is a complex one rather simply black and white. The rebels were part of our own society. The structural oppression which pushed the youth to revolt against the state appeared from societies own ruptures. These revolts were intrinsically bound up with the social, political and economic structures of then Sri Lanka society and, wrong to analyse in isolation. The society was a fertile ground for violence which cost hundreds of lives. The structural oppressions of the society which were fueled by the ruling ideologies were performing a significant role in pushing the youth towards a revolution against the state. The irony was, the state was acting in a similar manner as the young rebels, creating a counter force through military and police against the youth, neglecting the existence of law and order. Both the state, as well as the youth rebels, released much violence. While violence cannot be justified in any means, it is to remember that, the ruling body was a democratically elected one by the citizens of the country and supposed to sustain law and order. However, instead of maintaining law and order and restoring law and order, the state was practicing ‘jungle law’.

On the one hand, the state is accountable for sustaining the oppressive structures through their ruling ideologies and pushing the youth towards an uprising and on the other hand, directly releasing military power against the youth by overseeing the procedures of judiciary. Against this background, it is illogical to measure the ‘release of violence’ of both the groups on the same scale. While any violence should not be justified or encouraged, state-driven violence has shaken the ground of the citizenship. When the state itself is practicing the law of the jungle, on the one hand, citizens lost faith in the law, and on the other hand, it motivates citizens to act as same as the state. Instead of restoring law and order and addressing the youth unrest, the state fired up the situation by adding to the mess which was already created. Similarly, the state is accountable for the youth unrest generated in the Sri Lankan Tamil society, which led to a brutal war which existed more than quarter-century. The consequent governments were responsible for maintaining the structural oppressions, which in return benefitted them by generating a vote base for the forthcoming elections.

With the high militarisation prevalent over for three decades, the state became an angry God with arbitrary powers. During as well as post-war periods marked with violence which considered ‘normal’ in the day-to-day lives of the citizens. As an example, in August 2013, a clash erupted between the military and the civilians in Rathupaswala in the Gampaha district due to a protest which demanded clean water. Civilians were complaining about the acidity of the water in the area due to glove factory wastage. The government sent the military during the height of the protest, and instead of using minimum force, the military used real guns to disperse the protesters. Forty- six people were injured while one person succumbed to his injuries. In a similar incident, in 2011, Roshen Chanaka died during a protest at free trade zone due to police inflicted wounds. During the same event, some protestors were permanently disabled, and many suffered from injuries. These are state-enforced violence. The so called national-security is for whom? If the state itself reinforces violence against its citizens, how one can rely on the state for ‘national security’. How one can discuss about ‘national-security’ without discussing the security of individual citizen? As per many arguments coming up in the social media platforms, state violence can be justified for the sake of national security. But, it is an irony to consider individual citizens as excluded units from the ‘nation’. Nation composite of citizens and protecting citizens is a responsibility of state, as a part of the national security.

*Writer is reading for MPhil/PhD in Sociology, South Asian University, New Delhi

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 1

    Oppression and JVP Ideology went through the Window when Mallika gave that 25 Lakhs UNP Ruppiah to Prince Kumara.

    I am not sure what this JVP mob’s new Ideology is but Vellala Party TNA has embraced the JVP and the Anglican Vellala Kid Abraham I saw even holding hands with Anura Kumra.

    The talk of the Town now is that the UNP Elite are also doing a Due Diligence on the JVP under instructions of the Elite, Anglican, Vellala and the new Wahabai Faction leader Dr Ranil..

    BTW wonder whether this young lady is doing her PhD on Sinhala Buddhist Terrorism. because I didn’t even see one word on Tamil and Muslim Terrorism.

    • 5

      KASmaalam K.A. Sumanasekera

      Many oppressed people are also among the followers of your new found friend and guru the cross dressing Ranjith who might also consider baptising himself as a Mahanayaka, now that Amarapura and Ramana Nikaya have already decided to merge into one (cost conscious, efficiency drive, lost market share of spiritual trading, ….) there may be a small opening available for Ranjith.

      • 0

        Dear Native,

        I thought you would be at least a notch above Dr Ranil’s UNP Minister who was a Gigolo in the Bronx ,before Dr Ranil made him a Yahapalana Minister to serve his Colombo Elite as well as the Oppressed in the Bible Belt.

        But what the Gigolo did was slash and burn Sinhala Buddhists and their Monks in every corner of Dr Ranil’s Yahapalana Land..

        Fortunately it was only the Punnakku Eating Dr Ranil supporters seem to follow the Gigolo after his insults thrown at our dear Brother Cardinal in Colombo.–

        I was totally flabbergasted when I saw your lame attack on the Cardinal.

        i don’t think characters like you will hurt the Cardinal after your Yahapalan buddies did to him and his Church, by withholding that vital Intel Info who Dr Ranil’s Defence Teams in both Police and the Ministries had access to 16 hours be the attacks.

        And it was not generic stuff.. It in fact had named Zaharans and Ibrahims coming to visit catholic Churches..

  • 5

    Dear Ms. Kahandagama,

    Your write up is very nice and it should be treated as a perfect comment on Mr. Mahindapala’s articles of,….. Part II, appeared two days back.

  • 1

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 4

    Thank you so much for bringing out the facts. State and LTTE or youth insurrection are not same. When we discuss violence or other criminality we cannot compare state with others because the duty of the state is to protect ALL citizens. But the dumb keeps repeating the states excuse “they killed few of us so we killed many of them”. As you mentioned, the Lankan state forced youth into violence and then unleashed more violence on communities,families and other innocent victims. But in my opinion these were, well planned and executed by our crooked politicians who are reaping the benefits now. Yet our dumb public keeps voting and electing them because they too are now conditioned over years. So the public too is now immoral and oozing with revenge, jealousy, resentments and hatred.

  • 1

    this is all same old crap.

  • 0

    As a PhD candidate, I do not believe that what you have written is exactly what you think as the correct version. On the other hand, PhD theses are written about Asian Buddhist violence, Militant monks etc., when I read the books written on those, it looks those are mostly propaganda and not the truth. Anyway What I say, for everything, there is another explanation. during the che guvera insurrection, there was a cold war in the world. Two powerful states tried to grab those countries into those camps. At present, there is another problem, Because of the Sri lanka’s location, Pivot TO asia Program, the govt was scared about any COLOUR revolutions. SO, they settled those. Innocent people were killed. It is true, Sri lankan politicians are not educated, intelligent, visionary etc., Sri lankan Law college in colombo, I heard was established to push dumb children into the VIP class and their minimum qualification is GRADE EIGHT PASSED (Now it may be higher but not the better advanced Level results). some of those lawyers who passed Law there never had practiced in Law courts. the reason may be, there is another Law college for University graduation. Some how those Lawyers have destroyed the country. In brief, Sri lanka and it’s every thing such institutions, govt etc., a part of the international geo politics taking the control of Indian Ocean. Because of that your discussion is not that relevant in reality.
    India also had many problems since the past and even now they have problems because the govt is patriotic and is not west -worshipping. Initially, LTTE and Che guvera were part of the communist block problems. Later LTTE became completely a group run by the Western needs. Zaharan is completely for western needs.

  • 0

    Mahinda Rajapakse govt was for toppling the govt by colour revolution. that is why I think those people got shot and the problem was solved right at the beginning. Che guvera and LTTE are youth had problems and foreign countries used that to change the political system of Sri lanka. North Korea, India and West were helping the rebels and terrorists in those. Tamil movement initially was mixed, later Pabakaran took control over that by killing all the other factions which had socialist agenda. That may be Western work. I think the LTTE theoretician Balasingham should know every thing.. When Pabakaran understood everything it had gone too far. I think KP also must know a lot if you are allowed talked to him.

  • 3

    Anushka Kahandagama has cast some precious pearls.

    – The structural oppression which pushed the youth to revolt against the state appeared from societies own ruptures.
    – It is wrong to measure the ‘release of violence’ of both – the State and the Rebels groups – on the same scale.
    We failed as a nation owing to the failure of the Governments to grasp the Cause- Effect phenomenon.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.