One could surmise that the masses are pushed towards unlawful action in the belief that the law does not take its due course. This has spread from setting fire to a bus after a fatal accident to attacking and setting fire to police stations. The attack on Angulana Police Station after a double murder and setting fire to Dompe Police station all point to the same trend. We could add several lives lost due to 'grease devil' incidents as well. The most recent incident was the destruction of the property of the suspects involved in the killing of a doctor in the Karandeniya area. The killing had taken place a month ago.
People taking the law into their hands cannot be considered as merely a crime committed by them. However, the issue is to be solved by arresting and imprisoning those who were involved in the incidents as well as those who weren't. Anyone aware could observe several socio - political reasons that influenced such behaviour to develop during recent times. One reason is the breakdown of public trust towards the police. On the other hand the reason for the public losing confidence in the police is due not entirely on the police but due to the role of the institutions that control the police. It is acceptable that the Department of Police, as a state institution, is bound by rules and regulations of the state. However, the government's attempt to make the police a tool is unacceptable. Anyone can understand the government's necessity to take under its direct control an institution that takes decisions regarding the public. However, taking various shameless actions to do so is not justifiable.
One of the independent commissions established by the 17th amendment that was adopted due to the keenness of the public and mediation of the JVP was the independent police commission. Despite it being not an ideal criterion on democracy, it opened a certain space for the police that had been politicized for several decades to be independent. However, one of the 'miracles' the government has brought about with its 2/3rd majority is the closing down of this 'space' and taking over the police. Through this move the government has been able to create the officer in charge of a police station a person who yields to the ruling party organizer in the area.
There was much talk regarding filing as well as withdrawing cases on political requirements through the Attorney General. Exonerating former ruling party Parliamentarian Kathriarachchi from murder charges, exculpating ruling party Parliamentarian Duminda Silva from rape charges and withdrawing unauthorized building charges against ruling party Parliamentarian Earl Gunasekera are several such instances. The list is too long to put down here.
The President who has immunity to be free from wrongs he commits but also having the authority to free others who commit crime is an extraordinary situation. The wife of Minister Milroy Fernando who had been sentenced for murder, former Basnayake Nilame Anton Tennekone and former Mayor of Kandy who were jailed for offences being exonerated are several such instances. These moves only convince to the masses that court sentences too are decided on condition of allegiance to the ruling party.
Another main reason that shattered the trust people had in the judiciary is the belief that transition from the opposition to the ruling party has the 'luxury' to be free from all crime. People are aware that many 'peoples' representatives who had various allegations of fraud, crime and various illegal activities crossed to the government during the past did so not because they 'loved' the ruling party. Among them are those who supported killing of VIPs and backed up terrorism, carried out mass scale frauds through privatization rackets and those who had been charged and proved of selling food stuff and roofing sheets received as foreign aid. It is no secret that those who engaged in illegal rackets took refuge in the government to avoid being prosecuted.
The government may consider the 2/3rd majority it has manipulated in Parliament by harboring these political refugees is its victory. It not only makes attempts to find those responsible for billions of public money that had been wasted through mass scale frauds and corruption futile. The most serious catastrophe is the viewpoint that gets established in the society that law is meaningless.
The most recent incident that challenges law and justice and discussed by the media is the killing of Presidential adviser on trade union affairs Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra at Mulleriyawa on October 8. The police not only have been unable to identify a definite offender but also have not been able to take a statement from Parliamentarian Duminda Silva, a prime suspect in the case, nor have they been able to arrest him. Meanwhile, he on his own left the country recently claiming he wants to get treatment. The media also reported that the President and five cabinet ministers visited him at the hospital. It is such occurrences that would make the people, specially family members of the slain ruling party stalwart, that the government would not carry out a fair investigation regarding the murder.
These factors show that the breakdown of the trust masses had in the law establishment and the general displeasure regarding the existing socio-economic-political system influences people to take law into their hands even in a small incident. If this environment establishes the standpoint that the present socio-economic-political system should be transformed into a more justifiable system, it would have an effective development. However, if it doesn't, the society would descend to social anarchism which would lead to total barbarism. This is the threat many fail to see.
Comments - 3
Ruwan Wednesday, 09 November 2011 06:58 AM
The status quo will not change, this is how Sri Lanka will go, God knows upto when, after JR there never was a good government and there will never be one again. MR although he has problems in his government with corruption and rowdyism and all that, this Govt. should continue to hold power and rule; if Gothabaya can eliminate the rogue UNP, JVP, TNA and some bullshit media fellows, most problems will solve. For the criminals if law cannot punish, God will definitely punish.
lalith Wednesday, 09 November 2011 01:32 AM
it is an interestin article by vijitha herath MP. however acording to my understanding people behave like criminals in mass scale due to their psycological conditions and there experience in life. i believe riots in 1972 was the starting point of this social transformation, and it went through the 83 black july and climaxed in 86-89 insurgent.
lalith Wednesday, 09 November 2011 01:34 AM
i was a 10-year-old school boy at this last epesode of JVP riots and was forced to throw stones at police. fortunately for me the police were not that brutal on us.
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