16 May, 2021

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The Death Of Sub-Inspector Sarath Premachandra A Kafkaesque Episode

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

Justice M. Ilancheliyan is one of the greatest judges to be produced in Sri Lanka for the last many decades. He is still a High Court Judge, but he deserves to be raised to the Supreme Court. If that were to happen, he would be a great asset not only to the Supreme Court, but also assist in the efforts dreamt of by a few, for a radical transformation of the rather bleak situation of law and order in Sri Lanka.

Justice Ilanchelian has struggled through most difficult areas over a long period of time without ever giving up the idea of upholding the rule of law and dispensation of justice.

The recent incident which resulted in the death of his most trusted and faithful guardian Sub-Inspector Sarath Premachandra, should be a sad day for the entire country. The manner in which Judge Ilancheliyan reacted to the incident is most appropriate and telling. He knelt at the feet of the wife of his fallen guardian and virtually worshiped her in the most humble manner. He cried at the tragedy. Television channels showed for the first time, a weeping judge. It was the great Indian judge, Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer who said “a judge, who cannot weep, is not fit to be a judge”.

What was appalling is the manner in which the incident of the shooting was treated by the police spokesman in the most casual manner. In a very short time after the incident, he dared to declare that it was just an act of some drunken persons and thus tried to dismiss the significance of the shooting. No thorough inquiry has yet been conducted and one of the suspects has managed to escape unharmed but the declaration trivialising the incident has already been made.

The said police statements are aimed at confusing the public and to mislead the investigations. As the shooting had taken place just a few days after a DIG was arrested for harbouring a criminal, an attempt at a deliberate cover up cannot be ruled out.

The incident must be inquired into by a special unit of inquiry of the Criminal Investigations Department. It should not be left in the hands of the local police.

It was completely inappropriate for the police spokesman to make such declarations so early, without there being a thorough criminal inquiry by a competent and an impartial group of investigators. The incident deserves a thorough-most inquiry by the best investigators, we have.

The entire incident unfolded, almost like a Kafkaesque episode. The sheer absurdity into which the entirety of the justice process has fallen is being symbolised by this incident. The casualness with which it is treated is also a part of the tragic drama that the Sri Lankan people have experienced over a long period of time.

The loud cry of Justice M. Ilanchelian is a cry not only for a fallen hero, but a cry regarding the extreme crisis (a crisis is rather a lame word to be used) of what the entire system of justice is faced with, in Sri Lanka. It is a cry, calling for change. It is a cry reflecting the despair of a people.

That the fallen Sub-Inspector Sarath Premachandra had stood by his judge for over 15 years faithfully and loyally is a heartening example, demonstrating that there are still great people, who can transcend racial barriers and work as comrades in arms to serve their people.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    13

    From the information available, and from the statement of the Judge Ilanchelian and the police, it seems that the Judge was not the target, not even one shot was fired at the judge or at the vehicle he was in. If the judge was the target and the assailant was waiting for the judge to arrive along the particular road , he would have come prepared to assassinate him. No such evidence was there so far,
    However, we all have to wait until a Complete investigation is carried out before we come to a conclusion. It is very sad that the police Inspector who was a long time guardian of the judge succumbed to the gun shot injuries.
    It is a sad and serious incident . A very high proportion of grief by the judge which was shown over the media should have been avoided. A judge is supposed to restrain himself in such cases without showing too much of a grief. He is supposed to be judge to judge things in a calm and thoughtful way and not to expose a weakness. Of course it is a serious matter but he is not an ordinary person. He may be human but he represents the judiciary and should not have committed to say things without evidence and express grief with such weakness..

  • 8
    1

    Dear Sellam,

    You have said that Judge Ilanchelian “he is not an ordinary person.” Well, we don’t want these to be called “ordinary times” do we, when such shocking incidents take place. But more shocking surely than the incident is the fact that less than a week after it all happened there are people who want to dismiss what happened as of little significance.

    It is touching to hear of the close relationship that had built up between the tough Tamil judge and the faithful Sinhalese policeman.

    Judge not, Sellam, that ye be not judged!

    • 1
      1

      Well said SM

  • 3
    0

    Justice depend on impartial judges and prosecution.
    In Lanka “prosecution” is for sale. The prosecutors tailor the case to obtain predetermined verdicts.
    In the assassination attempt of a judge, various versions are leaked. This is sign of the impending buggering.

  • 0
    7

    Wow, what an article, what comments. The death should have been a tamil to see what would this Basil Fernando have written and what the tamils comments would be. IT is to praise about the judge apologising and and to say the target was not the judge. How about very common attackes on Sinhala police officers ?

  • 1
    10

    A pathetically written articler. IT looks wigneswaran and Tamil politicians are busy building the Tamil eelam Ex-LTTE caders are busy earning money crimes. Some Stupid Tamils come here and talk about arresting police officers for shoorting at motor cycles. Even the contraversial Tamilnet shows a video about how the Judge explained the incidence. It looks gangs may be importing drugs eanted to kill the judge and because of the police officers they failed. It looks motot bike gangs are common in Jaffna and they play havoc among the people. Stupid journalists write article which does not give information instead the articles are racist and provide with iwrong information. This shows this NGO is really cash-strapped, racist and just write garbage. There is lot of information in the public doman which says vehicles are transporting drugs and they do not stop for police officers. Police also do not go behind these cases because Tamils are really racist in every instance, they only accuse police and not the Ex-LTTE caders may be engaged in crimes as motor bike gangs. They should be responsible for drug epidemoc in Jaffna.

  • 0
    6

    That was a wasted life of a police officer because of Tamil racism and lack of courage from the govt side that includes politicians as well as the bureaucracy. As soon as some one tried to grab the police officer’s gun by force, that should be a criminal offence and some other police officer should have shot the assailent point black. I say police officers should be briefed properly. That family should be compehnsated properly because that death happened as a rersult of the authorities above the police officer. That was a clear case of police officers being not prepared for emergenceis. When some one knew that a man is trying to grab the gun, he should have been. IT does not matter if it was fatal.

  • 2
    1

    Basil Fernando and his NGO = Kafkaesque episode of Human Rights!

  • 0
    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

  • 3
    0

    I am surprised by Sellam’s comment about the way the DJ grieved at the loss of the Police Officer. He is not an ordinary Police officer, but one who played a vital role in the safety of the DJ for fifteen long years! Judges are human beings too, and they should express their emotions like everybody else. How everyone shows grief is personal, cultural and circumstantial. A judge uncontrollably breaking down in such a tragic situation is nothing but human!

  • 2
    0

    It is unfortunate that every incident of this nature is painted with color of racialism. Here is a Judge,perhaps returning after some duty and a police officer on Duty of safe guarding the judge from these type of incidents.The police officer who died and the police officer who got injured have done their duty magnificently. One was purely lucky to escape. The judge too had done his duty by taking both to the hospital despite the prevailing pandemonium. Mahinda’s comments to say that a Tamil Have been saved by a Sinhalese is to rekindle his Sinhala Racist flavor on every thing, without which he will end up as garbage, with no place to dump. .

  • 2
    1

    In reply to “Sellam”, I quote Justice Illanchelian from a TV interview, “
    In my view this is a target to the judiciary, my police constable or my police sergeant is not the target because he because no one knows about my escort officers. I am handling the most dangerous cases in Jaffna, this I have hundred percent doubt this particular firing was towards me and the threat to the judiciary. I request his Excellency the President, The Prime Minister, the Justice Minister and Defence Minister, and His Lordship the Chief Justice and the Secretary to the Judicial Services Commission, to take over this matter very serious to safeguard the judiciary and protect the judges to hear the fair trials and the independence of the judiciary . I always travel through the temple road to the Nallur Temple so someone had followed my vehicle and removed the pistol from my escort and fired towards my police officers and to my side.

  • 1
    0

    Continued—-
    In my view this is a target to the judiciary, my police constable or my police sergeant is not the target because he because no one knows about my escort officers. I am handling the most dangerous cases in Jaffna, this I have hundred percent doubt this particular firing was towards me and the threat to the judiciary. I request his Excellency the President, The Prime Minister, the Justice Minister and Defence Minister, and His Lordship the Chief Justice and the Secretary to the Judicial Services Commission, to take over this matter very serious to safeguard the judiciary and protect the judges to hear the fair trials and the independence of the judiciary . I always travel through the temple road to the Nallur Temple so someone had followed my vehicle and removed the pistol from my escort and fired towards my police officers and to my side.

  • 0
    0

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  • 4
    0

    What actually happened was that the aim was the Judge and he anticipated the judge to be on the side of the car where the police man was. but he got that wrong and ended up shooting the policeman.

    The gun man must be a good target shooter because he managed to kill the policemen and who ever hired him, chose the correct man for the job but gave the wrong information as to which side the judge was sitting, perhaps the judge stopped for a vadai on the way and swapped sides.

    this was a planned assassination and just missed it. the judge needs to take care because he needs to tidy Jaffna of criminals and then the rest of the country.

    My humble request as a follow Sri Lankan is that let’s put behind racial identities and support a great judge and demand a proper investigation and bring the people involved to justice.

  • 2
    0

    Nandana, Jimmy & Sellam,
    I don’t think your comments on Basil Fernando and the Judge are fair. It is an insult. Those two are open on the media. Why not you all write a rejoinder to Basil’s analysis.
    At least your smart patriot DJ has the guts to write rejoinder.

    If you three are unable to respect a fellow citizen the judge the sorry status of mother Lanka will continue for many more decades.
    Budhu Saranai.

    PS : Can any of you make DJ to write a rejoinder for the above article by Basil Fernando ? You can not and DJ will not.

  • 1
    0

    Well said Basil.

  • 0
    0

    Human emotions have to be expressed. Mopped up emotions distort your emotional equilibrium and is unhealthy. I salute sincere human behaviour of Justice M. Ilancheliyan. The learned judge has set a good example. We can expect him to be transparent in carrying out his duties and his judgements.

  • 0
    0

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