A serious allegation by British parliamentarian Simon Danczuk, who visited Sri Lanka seeking justice for his constituent, Khuram Shaikh the British Red Cross worker killed in a Tangalle tourist resort on Christmas Eve 2011, is a major indictment on the Sri Lankan government, law-enforcement officials and the judiciary.
The Rochdale MP charged that political patronage and interference were the reasons for the delay in bringing alleged criminals like Tangalle Local Council Chairman Sampath Vidanapathirana to justice.
Mr. Danczuk visited Sri Lanka with the 32 year-old- aid worker’s brother Nasir Shaikh. He said Shaikh had served in the dangerous Gaza Strip but was destined to be brutally killed in post-war Sri Lanka where there was supposed to be peace.
“At the time of his death Shaikh was on holiday trying to relax at the beach resort of Tangalle. The fact that he was supposed to be in safe surroundings away from the dangerous war zones where he worked on a daily basis, makes this tragedy even more astounding,” the Labour party politician told the media in Colombo.
The British MP directly blamed the government for the delay in bringing about justice. “The case is moving slowly not because that the country’s justice system is slow but because there is political patronage in this case,” the MP charged. He hinted that one of the main suspects was close to the highest political leadership in the country. Mr. Danczuk assured he would continue to fight locally and in the Britain until justice was meted out. The British politician has already taken up the matter in the British parliament, with the Prime Minister and had even demanded that the Queen should boycott the Commonwealth Summit to be hosted by Sri Lanka in November.
The allegation against the current political system which is expected to condemn crimes and criminals instead of protecting them is a damning indictment against the government.
The Tangalle killing is not the first crime in which the criminals appear to be going free with political patronage despite clear evidence and eyewitnesses. Country’s history especially in the recent past has similar examples in abundance.
What is significant in this incident is that alleged irrational, irresponsible and immoral politicised killings have not only tarnished the country and its tourist industry but may also force Sri Lanka to face international trials. The incident has even affected the Commonwealth Summit; the government’s much awaited international showpiece.
Are these the results of foreign conspiracies or blunders made by political bandits, who claim to be the people’s leaders? If the government sees enemies or international conspirators in Channel 4, it should also know that the worst enemies are under its own roof. They should be tamed, controlled or marginalised if the government wishes to ensure justice and the rule of law.