The ITN has banned an episode of Kopikade – the longest-running teledrama in South Asia – as it featured a ‘Grama Sevaka’ who had gone mad.
The episode was not telecasted during the regular airtime of the teledrama and the circumstances that led to the ban are still not clear. However, it can be assumed that the authorities of the channel came to the conclusion that the episode amounted to a veiled attack on President Maithripala Sirisena who was a Grama Seveka in the Polonnaruwa area in the 1970s.
Sirisena also made a famous remark about his “sword” that he will use against the corrupt elements in the government. The statement drew ridicule from many quarters as Sirisena failed to pursue any effective action against corruption and even went on to appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister.
Thakshila Jayawardena, a civil society activist, filed a writ petition the Court of Appeal last month seeking a mandate in the nature of a writ of Mandamus against IGP Pujith Jayasundara and the Fort Police HQ OIC directing them to institute judicial proceedings in district courts by virtue of section 2 of the Mental Diseases Ordinance for the purpose of inquiring state of mind of President Maithripala Sirisena.
Although the Court of Appeal dismissed the case, the act of filing a petition regarding the state of mind of President Sirisena sparked an intense debate in society about the sanity of the President.