21 July, 2024


Should We Support A Usurping Government?

By Tassie Seneviratne

Tassie Seneviratne

Varying opinions have been expressed in the aftermath of the communal violence in Kandy and Ampara Districts.   

As usual the Government blames its political rivals for inciting violence. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who was also the Minister in charge of Law and Order gave a full description in Parliament about the violence that had taken place and put the blame on the Government’s ‘saboteurs’ and added that the law enforcement authorities had erred.

It was also reported that Police investigations have confirmed that the violence had been perpetrated by organized outside groups who caused mayhem and disruption of the lives of the people. – Though movement of outside groups to these areas was observed by many and trouble was anticipated beforehand, the Police have had to call the CID to find out what was well known to others!

The Sunday Times editorial of March 11th had rounded up its comments stating, “There is no escaping the fact that those events must be taken in the context of the overall decline and breakdown in the law and order situation in the country……”  Reasons for this decline and breakdown, not set out in the editorial, are given by me below. 

It is also the view of many that the country’s intelligence services have failed miserably. This is so in spite of the fact that the number one priority in the duties of a Police officer is to “collect and communicate intelligence affecting the public peace.” Be that as it may, in the case of the recent violence under review, that trouble was brewing was quite clear to many and it did not need a sophisticated intelligence apparatus to analyze the information. In fact incidents of violence have become the order of the day and activities leading to violence have been quite predictable. All that the government has done has been to accuse its political rivals for the surge in violence notwithstanding its own incompetence.

The Police, as usual, are the bashing boys of everyone when things go wrong. Even the Prime Minister who was the Minister in charge of Law and Order was quick to pass the buck on the Police.  What most people don’t realize, and those in authority over the Police gloss it over, is the fact that powers for all enlistments, promotions, transfers, and punishments are vested with the Minister (now with the Police Commission) but the Police are continued to be held accountable. It is a universally accepted fact that responsibility goes with authority. It is therefore the Police Commission that the Prime Minister should have called to question.

I have written several letters to the Police Commission that holds authority over the police, seeking to know who is responsible for Police action and/or non- action and followed up with reminders, but other than the automatic acknowledgement of the letters, no reply has been forthcoming. 

Due to the militarization of the Police during the 30 years of war, most Police officers do not know their proper functions. Respective Governments have preferred to use the Police as an instrument to instil fear in the people and to suppress people’s agitations. Community policing as should be its proper function is forgotten and unknown to the present day Police officers.

Taking a cue from the allegations about lack of intelligence in regard to developing violent situations, I had earlier conceived an idea of forming a group with a few former police colleagues, in order to collect intelligence for the government. The first colleague I contacted, confronted me with the question, “Why should we prop up a government that has usurped the power of the sovereign people?” This struck me as a valid point.                                                             

About this time, by a strange coincidence, I read about the 81 leaders in the 1818 Uva rebellion being declared as national heroes: “President Maithripala Sirisena, in a special gazette notification, has declared 81 more leaders and rebels of the 1818 Uva rebellion as patriotic national heroes.  Earlier on December 7th last year, the President annulled the Gazette issued in 1818 and declared as national heroes 19 persons including Monarawila Keppetipola who had been named as traitors for leading and participating the 1818 Uva- Wellassaa rebellion against the British Colonial Rule.

The Gazette issued on Monday includes 49 people sentenced to death and another 32 declared as traitors and expelled to Mauritius consequent to their involvement in the uprising.”

The Uva Rebellion was against the British Colonial Government that was in forcible occupation of our country. I am inclined to draw a parallel between the British Colonial Government of 1818 and the present Government that has usurped the Sovereign power of the people and is functioning illegitimately.   

Lawlessness and the violent incidents triggered with ease by political opponents of the government with a view to toppling the government, are taking place unabated, due to the unpopularity of the usurping government that has lost its legitimacy. A rebellion to overthrow the illegitimate Government appears to be the only way forward and worth the take.   

While the majority of people are woefully unable to make ends meet, it is a normal sight that politicians and their henchmen make matters worse by raping the forests for timber, illicitly excavating sand from rivers and irrigation tanks, excavating and transporting earth without permits and rival marauders shooting and killing each other and terrorizing the peace loving people,  has also become a daily occurrence. Wetlands are given for luxury housing. How long are the frustrated and angry people expected to tolerate these burdens cast on them by the very government that promised impressive economic growth, but instead doing a lot of damage to the economy of the country. It is blatantly clear that, “Everything is done just to accommodate the government in power and to ensure their political longevity rather than the long term interests of the nation”, as aptly commented in another editorial of the Sunday Times.

Unleashing a witch hunt on those of the previous government is also a normal feature, though nothing has been proved yet. 

The worst scenario is that the President and Prime Minister are fiddling in rival politics against each other while the burning problems of the nation in regard to the economy, law & order and all that can be called good governance, are aggravating daily.    

That a defeat of the Government will pave the way for a comeback of the dreaded ‘Rajapaksa Bogey’ is the Government’s strongest catchword in its political campaign for continued existence. But this should not be the case. Fossilized senior politicians who have been repeatedly going back on their promises should be hounded out from the political scene. 

Youth to the fore. Since of late I have been toying with the idea that the youth of this country be encouraged to play an active role in governing the country. By a divine quirk of events as it were, I read an article in the Daily Mirror of 2nd February 2018, on ‘The Road to Rights’ under the title “70th Independence and Youth”.

It is heartening to note that the Youth are organizing themselves aiming at ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ and ‘Human Rights Education’. All encouragement must be given to this organization to participate in governance of the country eventually. Civil Society organizations and the media could help to harness people-power for youth participation with a view to make rule of law and competent governance a reality, replacing both bogeys, ‘Rajapaksa’ as well as ‘Yahapalanaya’.

*The writer is a Rtd. Senior Supdt. of Police and a Human Rights activist

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Latest comments

  • 6

    Well said Mr. Seneviratne!
    Bondscam Ranil and Mahinda Jarapassa are PARTNERS in crime against the people of Sri Lanka, including looting Central Bank and Sri Lankan Air Lines, and should share the same prison cell. Both have promoted a culture of immunity and impunity for politicians to commit financial crimes and hate crimes.

    Ranil Continued where MR left off looting Central Bank. This is why he is protecting the Rajapaksa family of thieves these past 3 years and promoting a Culture of Impunity and Immunity for politicians to commit Financial crimes and Hate crimes, by destroying Law and order institutions and the Central Bank.
    It is not point asking whether Ranil or Mahinda R. are responsible for the Hate crimes against Muslims who are the scapegoat of Sinhala Buddhists? This is a false dichotomy.
    BOTH are MR and RW have protected the BBS and Mahasohon Balakaya whose chief is JHUs Pathala Champika Ranawaka – Ranil’s point man now to distract us all from the Bond scam and fact that Ranil should be Impeached. Both Ranil and Mahinda collaborate to promote a culture of impunity for politicians and their saffron thugs..
    Today Sinhala politicians are a Corrupt CASTE of blood suckers who are doing what the colonial masters did – Divide, Distract, the people from their corruption, with Hate Speech against minorities, and RULE the masses with SPIN and Fake Development projects and fake news.

  • 2

    Please translate this article in Sinhala and publish for the masses who should be educated to not vote for the old parties.
    Time for JVP to step up, democratize and take the lead in cleaning up the country.

  • 6

    You have unearthed facts in your article.. Also Can you please write to urge the Head of STF , Mr. Lateef, to arrest those Racist guys in STF Uniform who attacked Muslims in a Moskue and sentence those stf racists according to rule of law ? The whole world watched of the Police and STF racism in Mother lanka.

    Today Sillarasena went to Russian embassy to give his condolences for the victims of fire at a shopping centre in Kemerovo, Siberia, Russia on Sunday. But he coudnt step out to see the atrocities and the plight of innocent Muslims who were attacked , looted and even killed by Budda Terrorists .. Its thus proved all SENAs are happy when Muslims become victims of violence.

    And can “President Sillarasena , in a special gazette notification, declare Venom – Gnanasara and all leaders of Saththu Le as Sin Kele Terrorists ? . World is waiting..

  • 8

    S(upiri) Modaya,
    Bond Scam……Bond Scam…..Bond Scam…….Just like SIRASA TV. In any Political program SIRASA 2.50 Jada Jonors will take up this matter irrespective of the topic. Specially that “Maalu Kade Watti Amma” and “Deepal Wanniarachchi” so called Jonors repeatedly asking the same thing again and again targeting RW. You are also the same. Special Presidential Commission appointed by Silisena and commission questioned RW, Malik Samarawickrama, Kabir Hashim and Ravi Karunanayaka. Commission has submitted it’s findings to President Silisena and he gave a special statement to the nation in this connection. There is nothing mention in the report that RW is responsible for the scam. You are telling that RW and MR are protecting BBS and Maha Sohon Balakaya. It was Mahinda and Gota protected them and now “Gamarala” is protecting them. Nanasara was seen in Japan with “Gamarala” in recently concluded Japan tour. BBS Nanasara visited Prison to see Weather Mahasona is OK See the connection. To his credit RW never use racism or encourage hate crimes against minors to come in to power. Now the net is closing around Rajapaksha’s. New Judicature act, arrest of IP Rangajeewa and Prison Commissioner Emil Ranjan in connection with Walikada massacre and Udayanga Weeratunga in costody of Dubai Authorities some bad news for Rajapakshas. On the other hand Accounts worth of 12.5 b belongs to PTL was frozen by Central Bank and that is more than loss according to Presidential commission report. Red warrant issued on Arjun Mahendran. Arjun Alosyes and Kasun Palisena still in Prison custody. Bail denied. What else you and SIRASA wants? Are you follower of Bandula Gunawardana/Udaya Gammanpila or smoke something strong Modaya.

  • 2

    The ‘usurpers’ use the good old language/religion-divide which is rust-proof and inflation-hedged.

  • 7

    Thank very much for you Sir .
    At least you have bravery and gutts to tell the truth.
    You are really a matured SSP.
    You told the public what went wrong and whose is responsible for this unwanted and unfortunate trouble in Kandy.
    It was politics behind this all..
    The Sri Lankan forces that defeated LTTE and JVP..
    It could have controlled this violence with a few hours ..
    But some politicians are behind this ..
    They told police not to act?.
    So sad Sri Lankan police hsiotry.
    Law makers break the law.
    Law.protrctors break the law .
    Billions of rupees of Sri Lankan money is gone .

  • 3

    It is clear that the old brigade has, and is systsmatically destabilising the present government and the president is on the fence watching and waiting to cling to the winning post!

  • 0


    ” Law makers break the law.
    ” Law protectors break the law”
    This happened throughout the history since independence, particularly in 1983 in a large scale.

    What was Tassie Seneviratne’s roll in 1983 riots against Tamils. Shall we ask him to reveal?

  • 1


    ” Law makers break the law.
    ” Law protectors break the law”
    This happened throughout the history since independence, particularly in 1983 in a large scale.

    What was Tassie Seneviratne’s role in 1983 riots against Tamils. Shall we ask him to reveal?

  • 0

    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/

  • 0

    “Why should we prop up a government that has usurped the power of the sovereign people?” This struck me as a valid point.

    This is known to most of the citizens for many many years. Politicians are invested with illegal powers which they themselves usurped over a period of time. There are many police officers who are associated with politicians and exercise political power than lawful powers. There were and are many top police officers who still take orders from politician. Why not Police Commission take stern action against them. Police discipline is a must to enforce law and order. Now police are found to be the criminals themeselves. This is tragedy or comedy?

  • 0

    People have to think what they are doing. Why do we recycle the same old Politicians, why do their party constitutions approve the families or the dynasties. SLFP promoted only the Bandaranaikes who says it si our father’s and nother’s property and Mahinda Rajapakse who wants to build SLFP based on his Father’s legacy and now waiting to offer that to his son probably to all the sons. Wickramasinghe saying is all Jayawardna and wijayawardanes by party owners, PM or presidents.Why others can not come via the same party constitutions.

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