‘Low and odour’
Posted on October 27th, 2017

Editorial Courtesy The Island

Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekera, on Thursday, vehemently denied recent media reports that there had been political interference with the ongoing CID investigations into a complaint that a person, known to former Minister Ravi Karunanayake, threatened a key witness in the bond scam probe. He claimed the IGP had not come under any political pressure.

Sri Lankans usually don’t believe anything until the government officially denies it! What this country lacks is only a Ministry of Truth in the Orwellian sense. The whole world saw on television last year how the IGP obsequiously gave in to political pressure at a public function; he cringingly promised a ‘minister’, over his mobile phone, that a certain lay custodian of a shrine would not be arrested. That telephone conversation alone is sufficient proof that, in spite of the 2015 change of government, ministers still decide who should be arrested or not.

Police spokesmen are known for their flair for storytelling. Under the Rajapaksa regime a gang of pro-government thugs once operated, carrying poles, alongside the riot police to crush a UNP protest, in full view of the media in Colombo. When the then police spokesman was asked at a media briefing why no action had been taken against those underworld characters, he argued that they could not be considered thugs! Asked why they had been armed with poles, he had the temerity to say they may have tried to ward off stray dogs. Today, the big guns of the previous regime complain of stone-throwing yahapalana thugs operating alongside the riot police! The boot is on the other foot.

However, in fairness to the IGP, let the benefit of the doubt accrue to him anent the recent media reports at issue. Let’s pretend that the Police Spokesman has told us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But, the question is why nobody has been arrested for issuing death threats to a witness.

The government is making a song and a dance about a loose-tongued Opposition MP’s recent utterance that a bomb should be dropped on Parliament if the MPs don’t deny the government a two-thirds majority for its new Constitution in the making. The Speaker has seen red and promised action against the MP concerned. Strangely, no action has been taken against the man who threatened to kill a bond probe witness and her family!

Police, more often than not, show their mettle by rounding up lovers in parks and on beaches, bundle them into waiting paddy wagons before taking them to police stations. A drunkard was arrested in Kalutara a few moons ago for urinating in a public place. A woman was recently arrested for stealing three mangoes. A child was once taken into custody and hauled up before courts for stealing a few coconuts to pay her school fees. Another small girl was taken in for walking off with a five rupee coin from her neighbour’s house. But, no arrests have been made in respect of the bond scams which have cost the state and the workers’ superannuation fund billions of rupees and, anyone, connected to the government, is free to threaten those who have the courage to give evidence against them.

The present government consists of many self-righteous politicians, who came to power, vowing to restore the rule of law and rid the country of bribery and corruption. But, they and their henchmen remain ‘more equal’ than the ordinary citizens before the law. The message the public has got from the government is apparently this: ‘Stop stealing mangoes and coins if you want to go scot free. Instead, join the ruling coalition and carry out billion-rupee rackets and threaten, with impunity, anyone who dares give evidence against you.”

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