The security situation in the country fell to such a low ebb during the Easter Sunday carnage that it was hard to believe that this was a country that once defeated the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit.
This country has everything from clean drinking water, fish in plenty, vegetables, spices and a flourishing tea industry, but lacks two vital things; a responsible Government and a sound security establishment.
Right now all Sri Lankans are living with the thought of the next possible attack by the enemy; who could be a representative of the ISIS, the National Thawheed Jama’ath or the little known Jamiyyathul Millathu Ibrahim. Who could the enemy be?
We only have speculation about who our enemy could be. At the moment only the ISIS has claimed responsibility for the series of bombing carried out in the country. But what evidence has it provided to back these claims? At the moment many militants are being rounded up, but who are they really representing?
In this mess the minds of the general public are clouded. The people with authority and who can think straight have made amends for the lapses in security by carrying out successful cordon and search operations during which scores of suspects have been apprehended.
Much is spoken about the proposed Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) which is yet to become a legal document. Many are of the opinion that it will not be passed in Parliament because when it is compared with the existing Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) some of the clauses in the proposed act are mild. Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa has warned that the proposed CTA will provide security to the terrorist. He has also warned that the proposed CTA will also suppress the entire nation.
Many have lauded the Government’s move to ban the wearing of veils by individuals in public. The move was made as a security measure and what’s encouraging is the positive attitude with which the Muslim community accepted the government’s decision.
Laymen too have to play a role in aiding the beefing up of security. We now see most vehicle owners complying with the call by the security authorities to paste details of the driver on the vehicle if they happen to leave their machines unattended on the road. We saw so many bikes being blown up as security measures and no one protested because we need to know that there is a price we all have to pay to ensure security in the country.
In a few days time we will see our kids and teenage children return to their academic institutes to continue with their studies. This will be an anxious time for us. Terrorists are worse than animals. We have seen in the wilderness how adult leopards and cheetahs have often let go of stags if they find them alone without their mothers. But we can’t expect ruthless terrorists to spare our children. Even the LTTE didn’t.
We see cordon and search operations being carried out on a daily basis with much success. But the roots of evil seem to have spread far and wide. This is why the Wickremesinghe Government has underscored the importance of obtaining foreign assistance to quell the terrorist threat within the country. Countries like the USA, India, Russia, Japan and Pakistan see the importance of Sri Lanka’s geographical location hence they have offered help to the islanders; largely to ensure peace on this part of the Indian Ocean. Sadly the opposition forces within the country are saying no to the helping hands that are extended to Sri Lanka at this much needed hour.
When it comes to the matter of security it’s foolish to make compromises. We have already paid a massive price for our security lapses. This is a time when we need to think of the country and not of the upcoming elections. Let’s go all out and stage a protest if our lawmakers use this occasion to better their cause at the expense of the country.