By Tush Wickramanayaka –
Please let me extend my deepest sympathies for the demise of your professional career and the pain and embarrassment you are suffering personally.
Injustice Anywhere IS A Threat To Justice Everywhere
We, Sri Lankans are shockingly witnessing the unfathomable drama that is unfolding on a daily basis, ably performed by many actors of politics, ethnicities and religions that put the prestigious Oscar winners to the gutter. I was not surprised though to see you amongst them recently. After witnessing the horrific images of the country’s Inspector General of Police (IGP), attempting to assault a law abiding, innocent elevator operator in 2017, and realizing that you did not apologize for your misconduct, made me cringe of the lawlessness that was soon doomed upon us. You got away scot free without so much as a disciplinary warning against conduct unbecoming of an officer, proving beyond all reasonable doubt that injustice is familiar ammunition in your armory.
Perhaps, it is this lack of professionalism that you displayed as the Chief of Police, which trickled down to other members of the Sri Lanka Police force who were riddled with reports of corruption.
On 5th June 2018 I came to see you in desperation seeking justice for my 11 year old daughter who was subjected to corporal punishment at Gateway College, Negombo. I was concerned about the lack of progress of investigation from the police division of National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) and the continuing harassment, which led my daughter to become mentally unwell. I recall how bemused I was to see a bust of Lord Buddha on your table with flashing lights and chanting ‘pirith’ at a volume louder than our conversation. I recall also how you had three mobile phones on your table, all ringing simultaneously, distracting you from a sensitive conversation. Your immediate response was to bark at every caller and abruptly end the conversation with them. I even offered to reduce the volume of the ‘pirith’, which you vehemently refused. It seemed like you required a crutch for your fragile state of mind.
After listening to my appeal, you strongly denied that you were influenced by a high ranking government officer to dismiss my daughter’s investigation. You were adamant that, “the best thing about this regime (Yahapalanaya) is I am not influenced by anyone when carrying out my duties”. After listening to the telephone conversation where the said government officer admits directly, “I instructed the IGP”, you were instantly engulfed with the same amnesic disorder of Ravi Karunanayake and Duminda De Silva. “I can’t remember”, was your pathetic response. When the OIC, NCPA failed to recognize your voice when you called, you pulverized him, “yako mama IG, tho danne nadda man kavuda kiyala?!” (I am IG, you devil, don’t you know who I am?!) and a choice of other colourful words. Your lack of integrity and hypocrisy was witnessed by the chanting Buddha. Despite your reassurance, you did nothing to expedite my daughter’s case or to protect an innocent, young citizen. In fact, the police division of NCPA, which falls directly under your jurisdiction, totally mishandled the case. I was compelled to report to the Independent Police Commission.
Our Lives Begin To End The Day We Become Silent About The Things That Matter
I see the drama that is unfolding upon us as a game of chess. You were the Knight inadvertently assigned to protect the King and 225 courtiers. I am certain that many fellow citizens will agree that your misguided allegiance to protect the King has now demoted you to the status of a pawn.
You were appointed as the 34th Inspector General of Police of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on 20th April 2016. You were expected to prosecute cases against former President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa and his allies and other alleged injustices of high profile individuals.
On 23rd September 2018, government’s major newspaper, Sunday Observer reported the following:
“Since his appointment in April 2016, to the post as the country’s 34th Inspector General of Police (IGP), Pujith Senadhi Bandara Jayasundara has managed to attract calls for his removal almost every year.
Just eight months into his appointment, in December 2016, the IGP was heard speaking with an unidentified caller, which he answered in the middle of making a speech at a ceremony held in Ratnapura and was heard to say that he will instruct the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) to refrain from arresting a certain individual.
Again in April 2017 footage was released, showing an infuriated IGP shouting at a lift operator at the Police Headquarters for not attending the meditation program introduced and made compulsory by him. At the very end of the video clip the IGP is seen threatening a female receptionist with rape.
Early this month another footage where the IGP is seen acting in an unsuitable manner and disrespecting several Buddhist monks at a function, emerged. With this and several other allegations that were made regarding close ties between the IGP and Head of Terrorist Investigation Unit, D.I.G Nalaka de Silva who is currently on temporary leave due to being investigated, has resulted in yet again calls for the removal of the IGP.
As on previous occasions where many including civil society activists, politicians and even the ordinary man on the streets is of the view that the IGP should be removed or that he should resign from his post”.
You refused to apologize and you refused to resign then too but the King and the 225 courtiers protected you.
Your allegiance to please the King was obvious when you unashamedly threw yourself at his mercy and did 100 crunches in public, even embarrassing the King who ordered you to stop, “enough, enough, otherwise I will have to look for another IGP”.
We, the silent majority who helplessly watched this drama unfolding upon us since the fateful day you were appointed as our chief guardian began to suffocate well before your silence in the events leading up to the Easter Sunday tragedy. You can try to pass the responsibility and deny accountability but you played with our money and our lives. Our hard earned tax money provided you with a comfortable life; you abused our trust. Many innocent lives succumbed to the conflict generated by your selfish lethargy to speak; you sacrificed humanity. Many now disbelieve your excuses justifying your guilty silence whilst you have been reduced to a fallen pawn on life support; you tested our patience.
To Believe In Something, And Not To Live It, Is Dishonest
We, the majority ethical citizenry resolve injustices fallen upon us by following the recommended legitimate pathways without media support as the first breath of air.
When I filed a FR petition/public interest litigation case at Supreme Court on behalf of my daughter and all children of Sri Lanka in March 2019, I was advised by my legal team to refrain from going to the media because we believed in the presumed fairness of the judiciary. ‘Justice was blind’ and we did not wish to stain the impartiality of the judiciary. Even after the case was shockingly dismissed and despite the inaccurate coverage of the verdict by Ceylon Today and Mawbima owned by Alles family (Gateway Group) we have refrained from going to the media because we still believe that justice will be served.
On the contrary, you seem to have resorted to media attention instantly by publishing your FR petition even before the judiciary has given a single instruction about it. Your efforts appear to be to take advantage of the sympathy of the citizens who are embroiled in an emotional roller coaster of lies and deceit since the Easter Sunday tragedy. You appear to be suddenly playing the victim to resurrect your integrity for political survival. You appear to be pressurizing public scrutiny of the judiciary that will be compelled to act in your favor. Your actions suggest that you mistrust the system you helped to create.
Since you have destroyed what I believe as simple ethics, I am sure you would not mind hearing this tape of how Sri Lanka Police on 12th April 2019, under your command, became paralyzed by external pressures. The OIC of Seeduwa Police was ineffective to implement Law and Order to conclude an inquiry into a complaint I made against the Chairman of Gateway College. This is the same child whom you failed to protect over a year ago; a victim of ongoing uniformed inefficiency and corruption.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “The future depends on what you do today”.
I fervently hope you will find the courage to be honest and admit your failures and exhibit loyalty to your fellow citizens whom you were truly assigned to protect because karma is a bitch when served chilled!