By Niresh Eliatamby –
“Welcome to the jungle, it gets worse here every day
You learn to live like an animal, in the jungle where we play” ~ Guns N Roses ‘Welcome to the Jungle’
The year 2019 has seen the near complete breakdown of law, order and human rights in this country. And we’re only five months into the year!
The list of lawbreakers who have committed the most heinous crimes against our very own people is very long indeed, and seems to be growing longer quite rapidly. Political leaders, top police and military officials, senior civil servants, international Islamic terrorists, mobs controlled by who knows which political party, rogue monks, international drug smuggling cartels, underworld gangs… it just goes on and on.
There seems to be a free-for-all competition going on to win some sort of unknown prize to be given to the most amazing feat of law breaking in Sri Lanka.
A Long List of Lunacy
Political leaders and law enforcement officials deliberately allowed terrorists backed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) and its proxies in Sri Lanka to carry out suicide bomb attacks in three churches and three five-star hotels, killing 258 people, mostly Catholics. This despite warning after warning from India’s elite intelligence agencies, who had already taken into custody two Indian terrorists with strong links to the Sri Lankan bombers.
This resulted in the devastation of the country’s tourism industry, threatening the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.
The President and Prime Minister, who we thought were in charge of the country, shrugged their shoulders and said “I wasn’t told”. Ditto the Leader of the Opposition.
Military and police officials exhorted parents to send their children to school. Then, law enforcement officials of the police and military looked the other way while mobs rampaged through many towns in the Northwestern Province and Western Province over several days. Dozens of mob members who had terrorized these towns were belatedly arrested, only to be given bail within a week!
One of the President’s advisors, who last year singlehandedly turned Sri Lanka into the laughing stock of the world with his tall tales of assassination plots against the President, was seen on national television just hanging out in the middle of one of the mobs. He was then seen having a spat with the General Secretary of the President’s political party, who himself had just persuaded police to release some other folks who had wrecked and burned down shops and houses in several towns, even being so helpful as to play chauffeur to the hooligans in his luxury Prado that the public had paid for. Apparently the Advisor and the General Secretary were arguing over whose territory it was, a bit like the Sicilian Mafia arguing with Al Capone.
Mobs in Negombo attacked refugees who fled persecution in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who were legally in Sri Lanka until the UNHCR finds them countries to live in permanently. Not content with that, the mobs then attacked the refugees when they were shifted to the Northern Province for safety.
In the middle of all this, we are told that the country’s legal system has also been changed during the last regime, to legalise Sharia law here. Plus there’s a luxurious looking ‘Sharia University’ that has been built to teach it. But the University Grants Commission says it knows nothing about it. The Bar Association doesn’t seem to have much of an opinion on this sharia law business either.
The President pardoned and released from prison the nation’s most famous thug, who was quite proud of his rampages against minorities over several years. Never mind that he had been convicted by the Court of Appeal of rampaging through a courtroom, and that the Supreme Court had agreed with the verdict. It remains to be seen what mayhem he will wreak upon the minorities of the country.
Meanwhile, a much ballyhooed ‘War on Drugs” that was declared by the President, appears to have fizzled out.
I feel almost sorry for the CEB mafia who were holding the country hostage to power cuts just a few weeks ago, that were deemed illegal, just so that some folks could profit through emergency power purchases. That seems like such a miniscule transgression now. I wonder whatever happened to that barge mounted power plant that was heading for the Galle harbour. It seems to have been completely forgotten.
Remember that chappie named Makandure Madush? Whatever happened to him? His name was all the rage for a couple of months, living it up in a penthouse in Dubai. But no one seems to care about him much now. The last we heard was that he had arrived at Katunayake and been whisked off by the CID for questioning. I have this disquieting feeling that he’s living it up in a penthouse somewhere in Colombo now. I hope I’m wrong.
Meanwhile, the various parties in Parliament currently seem to be fighting over who can best whitewash several Ministers, Governors and other high and mighty folk who are accused of having links to international Islamic terrorists.
With elections only scheduled for the end of 2019, we really can’t expect much relief soon from the madness that seems to be sweeping over our Paradise Isle. This is going to be one very long year indeed.
*Niresh Eliatamby was for many years an investigative journalist, who also spent nearly two decades covering Sri Lanka’s civil war*