By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
The Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, it is reported, just escaped serious hurt or assassination; and that, mind you, at his own party meeting at Parliament. The situation is still unclear and it is hoped the government will act immediately to get at the bottom of what really happened and if any unseen hands were behind it. Today’s (6/2/14) Divaina reports that Thavarapperuma, UNP man at Kalutara, spat out raw filth and leaned forward to attack his party leader for refusing to give his son nomination. An online news report stated that Thavarapperuma had a concealed weapon in his possession and, further, that a UNP MP had earlier announced that “something important is going to happen.” This same online news edition indicated that another United National Party MP, better known for his thuggery, was seen later going hand-in-hand with Thavarapperuma.
These remain plain allegations but they are serious charges that give the whole episode of events the appearance of linkage. For its own good and for the wider safety of our people government must not ignore this assault on no less a person than the Leader of the Opposition (LOP). Conspiracy theorists are back in business and government must allay doubts in the minds of people.
Violence on the Leader of the Opposition is as bad as violence on the President in terms of the functioning of our democratic system. Furthermore, we dread to think that what was attempted and failed against the LOP may succeed against the President.
No one can condone the employment of violence to resolve political issues. Few cry for the vanquished Prabhakaran and his Tiger thugs nowadays except the blind adherents of the radical Tamil militant segments. It would have been good if Prabhakaran lived to see that the enormous violence he had unleashed both on the Sinhalese and Tamil populations did not pay. But what Prabhakaran did not live to see the criminal politicians of the South will perhaps themselves also never live to see. The reason: like Prabhakaran, they will be destroyed by this self-unleashed Frankenstein Monster of criminal politics. .
The fundamental provocateur of criminal politics is the ineffectiveness of the whole law and order and judicial system. The departure, under this regime, from the idea of a professional police force capable of acting independently of an unspecified host of political agencies at Colombo and in the provinces has been a serious detriment to the law and order situation in the island. Murders are simply happening everywhere; the most recent being the senseless killing of the former AFP journalist, Mel. Tourists are being raped blatantly by politicos.
Political interferences obstruct effective police action to bring the culprit to book. The opinion is also rife that even if convicted a criminal can be released under pardoning procedures depending on his/her political clout. Some questionable releases have already raised eyebrows. Furthermore, there is a growing decline in public confidence about the once-proud role of the judicial system and those in charge of adjudicating on alleged offences. All these interlinked operations ranging from the actions of the Attorney General through the judiciary and right unto the ordinary police constable should not only be above board but manifestly seen to be above board and conducted according to the highest standards of professionalism. The potential wrong doer will only then be deterred from callous and criminal acts against the social order.
We have heard it being said by the Chief Justice, Mr. Mohan Pieris, that the system of justice must be “sensitive to the executive.” What exactly Mr. Pieris meant isn’t clear; but his kind of thinking represents a deep confusion, assuming it has been stated sincerely: Laws are made by peoples’ representatives in parliament and this is adequate to provide for the “sensitivity.” The job of the judiciary is nothing more and nothing less than to interpret and apply the law in the way that is defined and intended. If legal definitions need to be amended well that, too, has to be done by Parliament and that makes the given piece of legislation flexible and “sensitive.”
It is therefore of paramount importance to the body politic and society that the President and his government restore to the relevant institutions the level of independence and professionalism they did enjoy in the past. There simply isn’t any choice here because law and order is the substratum for individual freedom, individual security, social wellbeing and economic investment. If the trends one now observes continues the non-law situation may become a life threat to the President himself and the government members.