18 September, 2021

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Senior Police Officers Visit Mahanayakas

By Tassie Seneviratne

Tassie Seneviratne

This was no courtesy call of the Police officers on the Mahanayakas (Chief Buddhist Prelates). No, the visit of these senior-most Police officers to the Prelates of the Asgiriya Temple in Kandy and also the Buddhist temples in Anuradhapura, this time, was with some other serious intent. The purpose of this visit was to discuss matters Departmental. To be specific: to inveigle the Mahanayakas to intervene and help to quash pending criminal/disciplinary action, in Courts as well as Departmental, in respect of these particular officers. The gravity of this whole exercise is seen in the massive public outburst it has created. It is without precedent for serving senior Police officers to indulge in such deplorable conduct of canvassing the Mahanayaka’s influence for a sinister purpose such as this. It also points to the low esteem in which the Buddhist Prelates have been held by these Police officers by expecting them to do something so reprehensible.  It is even more deplorable that a communal and religious twist has been given to this Departmental matter publicly, by these Police officers.

The conduct of these Police officers has given rise to a string of public condemnations due to the betrayal of public trust that is reposed in the Police which the public have been accustomed to for over 150 years.

There has been only one instance in the long history of the Police when a senior Police officer had sought outside assistance on a Departmental matter. In that instance it was DIG Sydney de Zoysa (SdZ) who transgressed the Establishments Code (EC) by holding a press briefing to clear his name, without due reference to the IGP and the Ministry. That was in 1959 following the assassination of Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike when rumours were afloat implicating various people including SdZ. Being impatient and over-zealous to preserve his dignity, he called a press conference and briefed the media on what he termed ‘the facts’ as against ‘the rumours’ that he had listed. However well-intentioned this was, and factually correct as later established, he had transgressed the EC, and had to be punished. He was sent on compulsory retirement. This meant that the administrative arrangement and the rules and regulations which prescribed for internal conduct and discipline of serving Police officers in the EC, stood well.

In the case of SdZ, the offence was in holding the press briefing without reference to the IGP and the Ministry – a technical offence. In the case of these Police officers visiting the Mahanayakas, it was to use unlawful means to quash serious charges already pending. This has been a singular, atrocious and glaring disregard for the rules of good conduct as directed in the EC, which are meant to secure the Police Service and thus serve the people as directed by the EC; also disregard for the law of the land. In the eyes of the public, their expectations of the police as long accustomed to, had been blatantly belied to them.

The lie this action gave the public is embodied in the Establishments Code (EC). The administrative arrangement, so given in the EC, is to secure the Police Service and thus serve the people as it then could. The need for these rules in the EC was none other than to serve the people. The breach of these regulations in this instance, was then not merely an administrative lapse, but a deviation from serving the people that the EC was to achieve, and a deprivation of the service the people are entitled to. The action of these Police officers in blatant disregard of the rules and morality, was at the same time a sabotage of the whole system that was expected to work through these rules.

The EC raises, in these terms, an issue of loyalty of police officers which commands their steadfast allegiance to the task entrusted to them. This arrangement cannot allow for other loyalties and other influences to weigh down on the work of these police officers acting in this manner, in the public glare. Loyalty of these police officers is thus displaced despite their oath of office solemnly taken. In other words, there can be no trust reposed in these particular police officers. Apart from breach of rules, these police officers have, in effect, surrendered their moral worth in the process. This violation fails not only the public but also the other police officers who have not so forfeited their values, nor compromised their personalities in their public office. This misdemeanor on the part of the particular police officers reflects a weakness and incapacity in their character; and that is unfortunate. 

In short, these particular police officers are unsuited for retention in the police service any longer. They should be retired under Sec. 12 of the Pensions minutes forthwith pending formal inquiry against them under the EC.

Under the EC the conduct of Police officers is closely regulated. Such regulations have come down over the years with good intent. As much as these EC rules and regulations are to prescribe conduct of Police officers, such prescription has a further purpose. Police officers, function within a whole legal framework. They perform their role in the eyes of the law and in the view of the public. Within the law courts the specific task of police officers is to give evidence in courts. This job of the police can be seriously undermined by questions relating to their conduct. In other words, evidence of these Police officers in courts, can be subject to substantial discredit. In this respect these Police officers would have failed the courts and the law process and in effect their due service to the public.

To guard against such untoward possibilities, the EC has enacted a charge of Discreditable Conduct. Police Departmental Orders (DO) A 7 Appendix “B” 1 refers. Blatant misconduct which can seriously undermine this role of the police is the mischief that the EC seeks to guard against. The discreditable conduct of these particular police officers, in this particular instance, goes beyond all bounds of decency and propriety, in brash and unrestrained in manner. Apart from their bearing on the law courts and the public, their effect on their subordinates in the police is dishonorable and disreputable. For this reason, subordinates can no longer look up these, their superior officers, not even perhaps to heed their commands. Discredit is then from within the police service, as much as it has been from outside.

Another serious charge that these particular Police officers have placed themselves liable by their visit to the Mahanayakas is one of Disobedience to Orders. But a charge of Disobedience to Orders could be viewed as a mere disciplinary charge of a technical nature. In other words, there is no moral turpitude included in the definition of this offence. But the fact is that, in practice, disobedience to orders has another dimension to the misdemeanor. This is a proneness to a tendency of habitual conduct of high magnitude – seeking outside influence.

Apparently, the pending charges against these Police officers over the Easter incidents and the findings of the Commission of an adverse nature against them, are for contravention of orders and breaking of the rules.  Furthermore, failure to obey orders is easily evident in their other action situations, too. That being so, this charge of Disobedience to orders: (DO A7 Appendix “B” 3 refers), has ominous eventualities.

There are still more charges these officers have placed themselves liable to under the EC: e.g. DO 6:  Breach of confidence. That is to say that they, without proper authority communicated to the public press or to any unauthorized person any matter connected with the Service.

To cure the malaise that the Police Service has been driven to, it is imperative that charges be framed against these particular Police officers who have contributed to the degradation of the Service in no small measure.

If appropriate action is not taken against these police officers, the irresistible conclusion will be that which has been heard from the grapevine; and that is – these officers were sent to the Mahanayakas with the blessings of the powers that be.

All in all, the conduct of these errant Police officers, points to how inconsequential they consider the IGP to be.

*The writer is a Retired Senior Superintendent Police. He can be contacted at seneviratnetz@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 12
    2

    Traditionally, we have resorted to divine assistance in times of trouble but it seems now that those mortals who represent heavenly beings are more powerful. I have no objection to those seeking solace from divine powers but when religious leaders become more powerful & are sought after by the country’s leaders & the top officials for advise & assistance, it worries me. Iran is a country ruled by religious fanatics & soon to be, Afghanistan. Will the trend continue with SL being governed by a Buddhist ‘taliban?

    What puzzles me is whether the country’s leaders have faith

    • 10
      0

      Dear Mr Seneviratne,
      .
      Alone the visit of SENIOR POLITICE OFFICERS to high chapter monks, should be best evidence, that the law and order /justice systems in this country under current leadership is not at all reliable.
      :
      Police in a country are to protect its people providing them with national safety.
      .
      But our bannana republic as no times before, its police go and see the help of HIGH CHAPTER monks….
      .
      The kind of ridiculous acts were not seen any times in the past. Today almsot everything is made upside down by CRIME friendly leadership, came into being through fake public perception. Country s main media should be responsible for the mess.

      • 14
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        My Dear LM: Just remind you “Kadamandiya” comrade – Babun Appu said on this “Pilgrimage” of Police Officers to “Mahanayakas”: “Linde Vetuna Eka Pidurugahe Hari Ellila Goda Venna Balanawa”. ( A man who has fallen into the well will hang even to straw and come out)

        Our President recently “Obliged” Mahanayakas request to “Lock-Down” the country even though the Medical Experts were crying for weeks and weeks. So these “Police Dogs” know where to look for help to escape from the crimes committed. The President has an “Obligation” because he is the “President” of the “Sinhala Buddhists” and the “Maha Sangahya” are the “Managing Directors” of the “Co, Inc” of “Rajapakses'”

        • 4
          0

          My Dear Simon,
          .
          Is it not a joke, that country ‘s police visit religious leaders for help ?

          WHAT IS THE MEANING OF A POLICE SERVICE IN A COUNTRY ?
          .
          If senior police officers cant set examples how can their junior colleague would learn it ?
          .
          This govt’s hidden agendas are based on MITHYAAWA…. no matter any human life belonging to srilanka would destroy by COVID.
          :
          They came to protect the nation…. guranteeing NATIONAL safety, but they STUPID leadership sends their SENIOR POLICE officers to ask for RELIGIOUS support from high chapter monks ….. this alone says the “nohaekiyaawa” of the govt.
          .
          Dont you think so ? My colleagues from Germany questioned me, why people let tolerate such as leadership, which seems to have no whole hearted reactions in the containment of COVID from its rapid spread …. I started biting my nails not being able to respond them….
          ayoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.. apita giya kala… !!!!

        • 2
          0

          My dear Simon,
          .
          Dont you feel that Babun Apppu in your Kadamandiya should definintely have more wisdom than that of incumbent leadershjip ? Gotabaya’s general knowledge, is similar to any lower level mentally ill person, if one would compare it with that of a DHAMMIKA paniya maker, i except GAHANAKKA, all others with some knowledge will have to agree with.
          .
          But the million dollar question would have been, PUNNAKU eating majority to get caught on and on …. should be connected with their knoweldge too….. if COW DUNG would have been promoted as “the best remedy to keep away from COVID”, people across the country would hunt the poor animals for gaining cowdung…… there they would all forget ” panathipathaweramani sikka padhan samadhiyami”:
          .
          Leaders must not necessarily be degree holders, however, they should come with ” fingerspitzegefuehle /sure instinct” in politics. All these should be foreign words to Gotabaya and his brother. May also be possible, his brother, JUTHAKA BAMUNA of the nation Mahinda Rajapakshe has no control over Gotabaya. The kind of CHANDIYAS, brought up DA Rjapakshe in their cave.

          In my younger days, we heard the terms ” Marusira” or the like as ” high criminals”: For sure, the days ahead, the terms ” RAJAPAKSHE” will earn the same degree….. I warn our youth not to vote for any Rajapakshes in elections.

    • 7
      0

      Raj-UK,
      .
      Until they grabed power by misleading the stupid majority, it was called ” mid income earning nation”:
      .
      The very same media men have now come down to called it ” we the kind of poor nations”:
      .
      All the lies and misleading statements are made by MEDIA prostitutes under the vicious agendas of highly corurpted politicians. Before MOLAHATHANO aka 10% Basil the dual citizen became minister of finance of the current govt, all was predicted, but today, the bugger is under the table… no different to the status of that asuchi eating WIMAL Buruwanse.
      :
      These men in power have proved that they cant control even prices of daily essentials, let alone, the very same to make to wonders in vaccination and containment of the virus from its spread…. pigs might fly.
      .
      Former govt, amidst all the backlashes they experienced from then criminals dominated RAJAPAKSHES join opposition, kept all the prices under control. It was the great management of former cabinet under Mr Ranil Wickramasinghe, but media mafia along with ballige puthas born to MEDAMULANA painted it in favour of their comeback.
      :
      Today, GOTABAYA has proved his abitlies, as the weakest LEADER the country ever produced. He would have been best match to be the HANG MAN if gallow was brought back….. however, a man with no hearts would not save a life in current COVID crisis.

  • 6
    2

    cont.

    in the wisdom of the monks, presumed to have evolved from the teachings of the Buddha, or the mysterious powers of gods. The US ‘trust in god’ & many other countries are governed by religious principals but when religious leaders advise on matters of state, are the citizens are expected to follow in blind faith?

    • 10
      2

      “Senior Police Officers Visit Mahanayakas”. For a foolish moment, I thought that they went there to arrest the Mahanayakas. How disappointed I am !

  • 7
    1

    The public opinion against the violation of all norms of “Justice”, “Conduct” and “Procedures” of Police Disciplinary Rules by “Senior Police Officers” and those “Followed” them has to be commended and appreciated. I see it as a “NEW BEGINNING” in shaping things to happen.

    Yet, there is one more aspect the “Public Opinion” has not been directed in this “Police Drama”. Aren’t the people not keen to know what the “Buddhagama Prelates” response was? It is better late than never for the two Mahanayakas (Asgiriya & Malwatta) and all others of the Anuradhapura Rajamahaviharyas to make a public announcement and tell what they “PREACHED” to the visiting “Police Teledrama Actors”. Why the “Media” has conveniently “Skipped” that part of the “Drama”? I didn’t and yet to hear from any of the “Media” (print & electronic) who has taken little of their time to “Interview” those “Buddhagama Prelates” (who too played a major role in the Drama) and expose the “Preachings/Sermons” given to the “Police Actors” (Jokers).

  • 12
    1

    I didn’t understand why the police officers went to Mahanayaka’s instead of President or Mahinda Rajapaksa who have constitutional power to release any murderers or armed forces or friends or ordered by their family? Of course, Rajapaksa regime will listen to Mahanayaka’s and release them unless they not against to them or threat to them or exposing their crimes.

  • 12
    0

    The retired policeman who wrote this article has not discussed the prevailing social and justice environment in the land like no other. He cannot view present day policemen with the EC or times when laws and regulations were originally framed. Society, social values, morals, codes of conduct, discipline, rule of law, justice, fair play, equitability, have all deteriorated so much that Police Codes of Conduct (if that is what they’re called) are no longer applicable. In a law of the jungle environment, tribalism trumps civilised laws; people clothed in yellow call the shots over and above any legal procedural code or penal code; politicians are scum who suck up to religious (Buddhist) chiefs for sustenance; judges and the courts defer to political will and override legal precedence. So, what is this writer complaining about? Surely he must have lived in paradise all these years and should know these realities?

  • 7
    1

    Lock the police officers, they do not deserve any protection.

    • 4
      0

      Dear Buddhist1
      POLICE meaning: in general:
      .
      the official organization that is responsible for protecting people and property, making people obey the law, finding out about and solving crime, and catching people who have committed a crime:

      SRILANKEN POLICE:
      .
      A biased organisation that has become caricature to stupid leadership (Double-Pakshe govt).

  • 5
    1

    The writer to comment on the conduct of the cream of the police force is understandable as he too was in the force and is witnessing events in his former place of work which never occurred before. He cites the case of what happened to Sidney de Zoysa as a straightforward application of the Establishment Code although the Wikipedia provides details of a political pressure to get rid of him. Focusing on the concluding paragraph, the real issue in this instance where the Police officers sought succor from the Mahanayakes can the IGP do anything tangible when even a Former IGP, Former Secretary of Defence are in the firing line. If the IGP were to plead on their behalf, can the IGP survive? The whole thing of 04/21 has more questions than answers. One must note that had any Police or Public Officer prematurely raised an alarm, thus preventing the carnage, then it is he who must prove that the intended carnage was not a false alarm and would have earned the political wrath at that time for creating communal disharmony when the key point was survival of a coalition Government of many ethno-religiously focused political parties. EC! Aiyo!.

  • 6
    1

    Kuwenis curse have caught up with the evil police guys too. No point going to mahanayake unless you take him a benz car for him to support you all. Now only alternative is to take the mahanayakas too and visit Thirupathy with a worthy gift lifted from peoples pockets. Ask King and he will advise you how to do that. What the patghetic state and what bloody uniform for you idiots. Better remove the uniform and go home.

  • 1
    2

    what gifts did they take to the Mahanayakas?
    Johnny Walker?

    • 1
      0

      It is Johnnie Walker. It is sacrilegious to misspell the names of famous liquour brands.
      Despite that, I put a ‘thumbs up’!

      • 0
        0

        I dnt drink Johnny Walker sorry Johnnie Walker not a fan of Captain Morgan either. Normally I drink Famous Grouse on special occasions Chivas Regal.

        That aside I wonder what is the favourite of Mahanaykae’s

  • 1
    0

    Rajash,
    I commend you on your good taste. I like Famous Grouse, myself. And my wife says it suits me admirably because I always have one grouse or another.

    • 1
      0

      my wife grouse at me when I am enjoying a shot of Famous Grouse

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