Curiouser and curiouser!
Posted on May 8th, 2017

Editorial Courtesy The Island

The government has made a volte-face anent the latest cut in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s security. It usually does not buckle under pressure where action against its political rivals is concerned. What really happened?

On May 03, 42 police personnel attached to Rajapaksa’s security contingent were removed all of a sudden. The Joint Opposition (JO) cried foul, claiming that it was the government’s reaction to Rajapaksa’s successful May Day rally. Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayake sought to rubbish that claim; he told the Parliament that Rajapaksa’s security had been reduced following a proper threat assessment and the latter could manage with 187 guards.

The second cut in Rajapaksa’s security came four days later on Sunday. The government ordered that 50 more police personnel be removed from Rajapaksa’s security detail. The JO let out a howl of protest. After a couple of hours the government changed its mind. One is intrigued. If Rajapaksa’s security is actually reduced in keeping with threat assessments as the government claims, then it logically follows that a fresh threat assessment must have been done on Sunday evening within four days of the first one which led to the May 03 security cut. The question is whether another threat assessment was carried out on Sunday prior to the government’s surprising about-turn. Is it that threats to political leaders are now assessed on an hourly basis? Curiouser and curiouser!

It is being argued in some quarters that the provision of extraordinary security to those out of power amounts to an utter waste of public funds and a severe strain on police though they have become marked targets due to the pivotal role they played in defeating terrorism. If so, the defeated candidates who were taken out of the dustbin of politics after the last general election and appointed to the Cabinet in the most undemocratic manner must not be provided with any security at all. But, they, in spite of being rejected by the people, enjoy the same perks and privileges as their elected counterparts besides drawing attractive salaries for sinecures as ministers. They move about with armed escorts. Shouldn’t they be stripped of at least their security?

One of our readers argues, in a letter published on the opposite page today, that we should be concerned about the security of ordinary people and not that of politicians. True, the law-abiding citizens, especially women and children, are the most vulnerable section of the society vis-à-vis the rising crime rate. The country has come to such a pass over the last three decades or so that it is awash with illegal firearms in the hands of trigger-happy criminal elements. Police do precious little to neutralise criminals, who are having a field day. People are not safe even at home. Their safety must be ensured first of all. However, the fact remains that political stability is a prerequisite for public safety, which becomes the first casualty of anarchical upheavals, as we have argued in a previous comment.

One may recall the unprecedented chaos the Lalith Athulathmudali assassination plunged the country into in April, 1993. But for the tectonic shifts in national politics, triggered by the Premadasa assassination which happened a few days later, anarchy would have been ‘loosed’ upon the country. The credit for preventing a popular uprising should go posthumously to President D. B. Wijetunga, who like a river bar pilot steered the ship of state to safety, by restoring democratic governance and respecting political dissent.

It is hoped that the yahapalana government won’t carry out another ‘threat assessment’ tonight and order drastic cuts in security provided to its rivals in the Opposition.

One Response to “Curiouser and curiouser!”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    There is no “threat assement” of any kind against the politicans losing their security, but we there threats can be levelled “against them” by reducing their secutity to dissuade them from political campaigning against the government. IT IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT.

    The REVETSAL of the decision to reduce the security may have come from a SUDDEN REALIZATION that if any harm comes to ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a result of the reduction in security, the Yamapslanaya leaders may have to face an IMMEDIATE BASTILLE DAY at the hands of millions of Sri Lankans.

    That, DEFINITELY, is not a PLEASANT PROSPECT for any of the Yamapslanaya leaders searching for SAFE HARBOURS after the Galle Face May Day rally!

    Stay tuned, as the self-created travails of the Yamapalanaya Gobbasenas plays themselves out in the coming days.

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