20 April, 2019

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The Role Of The ‘War Hero’ In Post-Conflict Sri Lanka

By Jayasiri Samaratunga –

Jayasiri Samaratunga

As a law abiding, peace loving citizen of this country, I have been helplessly watching the ever increasing crime rate in the country and its drastic impact on society. In view of the widespread penetration of social media, people of this country had the horrible privilege of witnessing some of the most gruesome crimes being committed in broad daylight, most often by organized gangs who are fighting for supremacy in the underworld and in the ugly world of the narcotics trade. One freighting feature common to most of the murders and armed robberies committed in the recent past have been the professional skills displayed by the perpetrators in handling firearms and escaping from the crime scene. This clearly indicates that these perpetrators are well trained/skilled in the use of firearms and other offensive weapons. In most instances, where some breakthrough has been made in relation to the investigation of organized crimes, it has come to light that ex-armed forces personnel or deserters have been involved in the commission of those crimes. They appear to be utilizing the training and skills acquired whilst serving in the forces to commit heinous crimes and terrorise the society. It is an irony that the very peace and tranquillity that the armed forces helped bring about in this country, with immense suffering and sacrifice, is being shattered by a few of their own members who have now gone astray for obvious reasons. 

This serious situation has given rise to an intense debate among the peace loving citizens of this country about gainfully engaging members and ex-members of the armed forces in the post conflict era and cracking down on the rampant use of illegal firearms and other offensive weapons. In this regard it was encouraging to learn of the steps being taken by the Ministry of Defence, under the personal direction of the incumbent Defence Secretary, to crack down on the illegal firearms circulating in this country. It was revealed in the media that even licensed firearms issued for personal protection of certain individuals have been used for the commission of offences. In this backdrop, it is important to investigate in order to ascertain whether firearms have been issued to people with genuine needs for such firearms for their personal protection or otherwise. Hence, carrying out a stringent screening process prior to issuing new licenses or renewing existing licenses is most appropriate as proposed by the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence. Such licenses should be issued or renewed only in exceptional cases, subject to extremely stringent conditions. 

It is also commendable that the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence took the initiative to deliver a strong message to ex-members and deserters of the armed forces that they would not be treated leniently, if they are found to violate the law of the land by committing crimes. It was observed in the recent past, particularly after the end of the civil war, a reluctance to initiate action against ex-armed forces personal who were found to engage in the commission of crimes, some of which have shocked the nation. The law should be implemented equally. Even the President, Prime Minister and Members of the Cabinet and their actions are subject to the law of the land. Any violators of the law should be dealt with severely disregarding the violators’ position, social status, race, religion, caste etc. 

Where members of the ex-armed forces are found to be involved in the commission of crimes, they should be dealt with severely in accordance with the law of the land, not only on account of the crimes they have committed but also on account of bringing disrepute to the armed forces. A few bad eggs cannot be allowed to tarnish the reputation built up by our armed forces painstakingly by implementing people friendly programs and strategies. Hence, the three armed forces should also have their own mechanism to deal with their errant members who bring disrepute to their goodwill and reputation. Hence, the Ministry of Defence and the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence in particular should be lauded for taking the initiative to implement the law equally across the boards, without any leniency being displayed towards ex-armed forces members who are found guilty of the commission of heinous crimes. We should collectively pressurize bankrupt and racists politicians to refrain from shielding ex-armed forces personnel from being brought to face justice under the law of the land on the pretext that they are ‘war heroes’. When found accused of committing crimes, whether serious or otherwise, anyone and everyone should face the legal consequences of their actions, irrespective of who they are. Equality before the law is a corner stone of our hallowed Constitution and it should be protected at any cost. In this regard the efforts taken by the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence to restore law and order in this country, by implementing the law equally across the boards, is vital for adding further value to the war victory achieved by the members of the three armed forces, at immense sacrifice, barely ten years ago. 

*Jayasiri Samaratunga  – Chairman/Founder, Kelani Academic Circle 

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Latest comments

  • 10
    1

    Sir, Do you think such people who are doing so much heinous crimes to their own people would not have exceeded their limits while they were in the N&E? But many are defending them as holly cows. I agree that not all are evils but it is a minority that do such things. However, unless there is an independent mechanism to identify these evil forces things are going to be worse. What i could infer is that sheer racism has led to this scourge and unless people open their eyes, the Sinhalese are going to face this curse more than the others. Just see how Madush gang operate so openly and on an international level. Dont you think that these scums are backed by very powerful people? But do we have the ability and integrity to expose and punish the criminals? I doubt it. Finally like the Customs lady, the investigators only will be in trouble.

    This is the same reason why there was a demand for an international mechanism to investigate war crimes. Why people are shy? Both LTTE and Military have done these crimes, no doubt, but we need to know the truth at least for us to learn a lesson.

    Bottom line is, unless we give up racism and unite and fight against these criminals there is no future at all for SL.

    • 1
      0

      Sir, Well said!
      There is a revolving door between corrupt politicians, the military and the underworld of drug smugglers, but also the durg king pins live in Dubai and their accounts are in Singapore as are the accounts of those who looted the Central Bank of Sri Lanka let by Bondscam Ranil Wickramasinghe who is Mahinda Jarapassa’s partner in crime.
      There is a strong external or foreign dimension in the way the drug trade took off soon after the armed conflict ended in Sri Lanka – to distract and “pacify” the people.
      Drugs are used to “pacify” populations, and also to “securitize” populations and conduct surveillance.
      After war eneded in Sri Lanka Buddhism was weaponized to attack Muslims by on other than US citizen Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who set up the BBS and other organizations like this. It was after BBS Thug who is an insult to what the Buddha taught went on trips to Norway and US that he became very bold to attack Muslims.
      The weaponization of Ethnic and Religious divides by external parties is on going today while drugs are proliferating to “pacify” and DISTRACT the Sri Lankan people from the Corruption and looting of the country by corrupt politicians who are in leageue with external parties who want to set up military bases in Sri Lanka, as there is a Cold War between USA and its partners against China in the India Ocean.

    • 1
      1

      Nathan,
      You are right. This country received the so called independence seventy years ago. The power was shared between two Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalist leadership (UNP & SLFP) since 1956. They needed racism to come into power. They needed Buddhist Fundamentalist relegious backing to ensure their victory. Violence against minorities is the main propaganda weapon. So, the law and order and justice system and military were institutionalised with racism and religious extremism. Since then underworld criminal activities and politics joined alliance.
      After the end of war, North East boarders were covered by military and it is impossible to bring the drugs from Sothern India without the military support. The military needed income and politicians wants to be richest. The opportunity is well used. The military became war heros or national Heros. Is it possible to take action against these Heros? In order to protect a few war heros, the whole nation and future generation should saccrifice their lives as drugs addicts. Today majority of young children irrespective of race, religion are become addicted to drugs. The nation is slowly dying.

  • 5
    1

    Samaratunga,

    As a law abiding, peace loving citizen of this country, I have been helplessly watching the ever increasing crime rate in the country and its drastic impact on society. In view of the widespread penetration of social media, people of this country had the horrible privilege of witnessing some of the most gruesome crimes being committed in broad daylight, most often by organized gangs who are fighting for supremacy in the underworld and in the ugly world of the narcotics trade. One freighting feature common to most of the murders and armed robberies committed in the recent past have been the professional skills displayed by the perpetrators in handling firearms and escaping from the crime scene.

    *** Where have you been for the last 5 years when CRIME of the biggest magnitude was committed by MR, GOTHA, BASIL & MS. Killing thousands , maiming , Looting the Nation to the tune of Billions.
    It looks like you have just woken up from a DEEP COMA. The same CROOKS are still in power except for majority in the UNP dare I say they are also guilty to a lesser degree by OMSSIION.

  • 0
    0

    Well said Jaye,…..! But do you think that the Police can act independently..? I strongly believe in some role of international evil forces, not only in crimes, but in most unfortunate situations, what ever the form they appear in…. We being a small and powerless country need to be very watchful and careful in most matters, and should not do things so blindly or for the sake of So called liberelised Economy, or international Tourism or what ever…We make carpetted roads to Sinharaja for the perpetrators to rob our precious fauna and Flora…for example…on the other hand …Do we need this so called Development…..?

  • 1
    0

    1). “It was revealed in the media that even licensed firearms issued for personal protection of certain individuals have been used for the commission of offences”.

    ——————————————————————————-
    I have picked up the above sentence which the writer Jayasiri Samaratunga has written in this article.

    1). The writer may be completely wrong in this statement and is definitely misinformed. Records would show that NO licensed holder of any weapon would have committed a crime with his licensed weapon nor would he have assisted in any crime.

    The media reports “BULLSHIT” most of the time and for Jayasiri Samaratunga to assume that this information is CORRECT brings shame to his article, of which the rest are written and presented well.
    As a responsible writer to an esteemed journal like the Colombo Telegraph he should not be writing falsehoods without any basis. I challenge him to give one instance where a licensed holder has used his licensed weapon to commit a crime. In the recent past there has been none.

    All crimes committed are carried out by illegal firearms and not with licensed weapons.

    This sentence creates a wrong impression in the minds of all readers and it is the duty of the writer Jayasiri Samaratunga and Colombo Telegraph to check with the Inspector General of Police and the Ministry of Defense, “whether licensed weapons have been used by licensed gun holders” in crimes and provide a CORRECTION if such incidents have NOT been reported.

    NOTE: Being a licensed gun holder myself, I take offense to this sentence hence my response.
    Over to you Colombo Telegraph!
    Just writing off their hats should be avoided in a respected journal as the Colombo telegraph.

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