25 April, 2019

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The Murder Of A Chief Monk And Execution-Style Killings Of Two Persons

By AHRC –

The murder of a chief monk and execution-style killings of two persons — the social implications

The chief monk of Sunandonanda of Egodauyana, Moratuwa was assassinated by a group of persons on the evening of February 4. According to reports there had been a prolonged dispute over a piece of land that the chief monk claimed he had the title for where a number of families had erected their huts. They claimed to have been living there since the Tsunami of December, 2004.

Complaints relating to the dispute had been lodged earlier at the Moratuwa Police Station by both parties and the inquiries were ongoing. Both parties were supporters of the government. It appears that they were both relied on strong men in the employment of their respective patrons in the government. The hut dwellers had complained to various organisations stating that they feared that the chief monk was attempts to evict them.

Following the assassination of the monk two persons suspected of the murder, Sujeewa Gunnaratna (29) and Chandima Nuwanratna, were allegedly arrested by the Mount Lavinia police and later their bodies were found on an isolated road at Bandaragama. They had both been shot in the back of the head indicating an execution-style killing. The Chief Magistrate of Kalutera conducted the inquest at the location where their bodies were found and ordered a post mortem inquiry to be conducted by a Judicial Medical Officer. According to the JMO’s report the deaths were due to shooting causing serious injuries.

Following their deaths their relatives complained that there were difficulties in burying the two as the Kalutera Pradeshiya Sabha (the town council) refused to grant permission for the burial at the Attawilawatte graveyard. According to reports the police had to intervene to find a suitable place by legal means in which to bury the bodies.

Later, seven persons including a Pradeshiya Sabha vice president were arrested as suspects of this monk’s murder and were produced in court.

These incidents raise several issues of serious concern in relation to the function of policing in Sri Lanka. First of all the dispute between the chief monk and the hut dwellers had been a long one and it should have been the duty of the police to intervene in order to settle it in such a way as to ensure peace between the two parties. It appears that the police, as usual, were hamstrung by the political influence different parties and failed to provide protection to the individuals. If such protection was provided the brutal assassination of the chief monk might have been avoided.

Following the assassination two persons were arrested and, as mentioned above, they were killed in an execution style shooting. The killing of persons after arrest, not a new phenomenon in Sri Lanka, has been reported in recent months in several places such as Galle after a horrifying murder where four persons were found dead with similar execution-style injuries. It was also reported that, in fact, the four persons had no connection to the killing in question. At Kahawatte where there had been a large number of mysterious killings, three of the persons who were arrested on suspicion of some of the killings were disposed of after they had obtained bail from court in a similar manner.

It appears that such killings of arrested persons happens particularly where incidents causing public scandal and fear take place and the law enforcement authorities have to create the impression that they are doing something to deal with such crimes. The public dissatisfaction with the police and criticism about their inaction has now led to this kind of dramatic execution, perhaps with the view to prevent the public reacting to such crimes by taking the law into their own hands.

The weakening of the policing system due to political influence has created situations where violence results in the creation of shocking crimes and the breakdown of the police investigative system has placed the police in the situation where they have to deal with severe public dissatisfaction over such events. To appease the public they resort to such execution-style killings.

The basic function of a government is to provide security to the people. When it proves incapable of doing so disputes among people lead to violent clashes and as a result society is gripped with insecurity. In Sri Lanka the failure of the government to maintain the rule of law has now created this bewildering social specter.

During the colonial times a basic legal apparatus was created and that legal apparatus provided basic security to the people with the ability of the law enforcement agencies to control crime. What the British did in constructing such a legal framework was to put into effect certain theoretical premises arrived at through the lessons learned from their past experiences. Already in 1651 Thomas Hobbes writing his highly acclaimed book, Leviathan explained the reason for the origin of government on the basis of the peoples need for self preservation which is achieved through the transfer of power to a government to ensure the protection of all. From then on a basic theoretical construct developed about the state’s role in protection and how societies can collapse into anarchy when the states fails to carry out this role.

It is the signs of anarchy that are witnessed in Sri Lanka today as a result of the government’s abandonment of the maintenance of the basic public institutions which are necessary for social stability. In 2001 the Sri Lankan Parliament unanimously recognised that such a situation of social instability was developing in Sri Lanka due to the operation of the 1978 Constitution. The parliament proposed the 17th Amendment to the Constitution whereby several measures were proposed to at least, partially deal with this problem. The government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, through the 18th Amendment abandoned these measures and did not create any alternative to strengthen the basic public institutions such as the police.

This basic disregard for the maintenance of the public institutions that sustain the law and thereby create social stability was again manifest by the way in which the Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayke was removed and a new CJ was appointed. The entire operation was done with shocking disregard for the established legal premises.

The result of all this is the multiple forms of insecurity as manifested in the murder of the chief monk and the execution style assassination of the two men. The rapid plunge into a situation of anarchy is manifested through many such incidents that take place routinely in Sri Lanka.

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Latest comments

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    I appeal to all Sri Lankan Buddhists to keep religion in the society away from the govt and the politicians. Then there won’t be any ”power struggle” but more concentration on ”principle struggle” by the public.

    Pl read the previous article on this page:
    Endorsing Religious-Nationalism On Independence Day, Tisaranee Gunasekara, 7 Feb 2013

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      Many thanks for this!
      Today the Buddhist monks are running amok, following their patrons and the lead set by the Rajapakse Family that is run amok and looting Lanka’s public lands and wealth..
      In a nutshell this is a story about the break down of law, order, social norms and values due to the warped value system of the Rajapakse family regime that has grabbed land all over the country and evicted people with impunity to build massive high rise overpriced luxury apartments,for conspicuous consumption encapsulated in the Lambughinis and Rolls Royce car racing.. culture!
      ALl this is done ironically while the Rajapassa regime promotes virulent hatred of western – American and European values – with a portent cocktail of Sinhala Buddhist anti-minority nationalism ..
      Lanka is a BLOODY MESS today and the DEBACLE OF ASIA!

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      Are you kidding? The Buddhist monks want to influence politics and are now part and parcel of politics in Sri Lanka. So, like the dirty politicians they are also being at the receiving end of the politicians’ shenanigans that include corruption, rape, child abuse, violence and murder. The Sinhala Buddhist people also want the monks to dabble in politics and what you see now are the results of their follies.

      Buddhism in Sri lanka is fast losing its reputation, especially under the present corrupt, evil and violent rule of the Rajapaksa brothers. Because of the ungodly activities of these so called “Venerable” monks the people has lost faith in them and are resorting to murdering them and abusing them. What is so venerable in these monks is beyond me!

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    Extra Judicial killings by criminals as well as the law enforcement agency, the police. Same principle as the PSC, according to someones conscience. Justice of the wild ass.

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    Justice gone to seed!

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      Papadama

      Was there a justice under your son goat podian VP? There was no law at all. Have you fogotten about that?

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    In the modern world, functioning under the democratic norm, if the Police act in a manner losing public faith that society is in trouble. It is the duty of the Police to protect the public from the more resourceful and influential underworld. With the arrival of Drugs (kudu) in such large proportions and involving billions of rupees there is now a proliferation of gangs almost every mile. To survive and carry on their daily lucrative trade for these dregs, the cooperation of the Policed is vital. Big money ensures the Police are in their pockets. But the problem is intra-gang rivalry that is an inevitable fallout of the drug trade. The temptation of big money results in the Police – even at DIG/ASP levels and local Police Station levels – take sides. In other words, they often become part of gang rivalries and warfare. The local political leadership generally gets sucked in and the Police are – more often than not – called upon to carry on the dirty work for the influential politician of the area. This regime has within its top some leading drug-traffickers and crime lords in the country – named even in Confidential Reports of the US Govt that keeps a close tab on drug-running and the various Godfathers in different countries. So the Rajapakse regime is very much in the radar of the US anti-drug agencies.

    It is increasingly clear ordinary people – more outside the metropolis – fear to live in their own homes. Kahawatte killings is one example of this. Even placing a large army contingent and a senior Cabinet Minister of the area overseeing matters did not help stop the killings. Minorities living among the majority particular in these times when day to day living for survival has become a serious issue with a shattering CoL fact. The more successful among the minorities live in mortal fear irrespective of the regime’s shallow assurances.

    Senguttuvan

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    It appears that these two have been killed after police custody! Does it mean, when they were in police custody? This is the beginning, with the impeachment of the Chief Justice and appointment of a Cheap Justice it appears who ever who has a knife or a gun or an iron rod in Sri Lanka is the Chief Justice now. What a shame!

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    A failed state is going to host the Commonwealth Conference.
    What a joke.

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      Leon

      Sour grapes. Heh!!!!!

      Failed state is your Peelum man. Not SL goverment.

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    WHEN BUDDHIST MONKS DO NOT LIVE BY THE DHAMMA AND CAUSE GRAVE HARDSHIP, ANGER AND ANNOYANCE AND LIVE IN DRUNKENNESS, POLITICAL PANDERING, DRUGS AND RAPE NATURALLY THOSE PEACE LOVING BUDHISTS ARE SO DISTRAUGHT THAT THEY SEEK SOLACE IN JOINING AND CONVERTING TO OTHER RELIGIONS, THIS IS ONE MAIN REASON FOR A MANY CONVERSIONS IN SRI LANKA, AS MONKS DO NOT LIVE BY THE DHAMMA BUT BRING SHAME ANNOYANCE AND HARDSHIPS TO THE MAJORITGY COMMUNITY. ITS TIME THE MAHA SANGHA DID SOMETHING TO ELIMINATE SUCH ROGUE MONKS.

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    This is what happen when Alibaba stole the elections…… Impressioned the General who won the war……. Kicked the Chief Justice out……. gave unknown land deeds to Buddhist monks and preletes which were stolen from minority population……..gave unknown air tickets and luxury cars to buddhist preletes for political gain……high calibre land grab, commission contracts and projects etc…….now coming chickens come home to roost.

    Last three months alone over 30 BOI free trade companies ran away keeping over one billion rupees “polla” not paying loans to local banks and without paying EPF,ETF money to employers……while Embilipitiya paper mill was closed down leaving indebt to banks costing 450 million rupees.

    THE CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST.

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