Is Vijayakala above the law?
Posted on July 14th, 2018

By Udaya P Gammanpila Courtesy Ceylon Today

UNP MP Vijayakala Maheswaran told a public rally on 2 July that the LTTE should be resurrected if the Tamil people are to get their freedom.  Although this controversial statement is two weeks-old, law enforcement officers have done nothing against her.

The LTTE have committed brutal terrorist activities to set up a separate State within Sri Lanka.  Promotion of separatism is a punishable offence under Article 157A of the Constitution.  If a person is found guilty,  he/she will lose their civic rights for seven years and assets will be confiscated.  If the person is a parliamentarian, he will lose that office as well.

Since the LTTE promoted separatism through terrorist activities, Vijayakala has abetted an armed struggle against the State.  In terms of Section 114 of the Penal Code, it is an offence punishable with capital punishment in addition to confiscation of assets.

In terms of Section 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act No 56 of 2007, no person shall propagate war or advocate national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.  It is an offence where only the High Court can grant bail for the suspect under exceptional circumstances.  Hence, the suspect should be in remand prison until the conclusion of the trial.  The LTTE instilled fear in Sinhala and Muslim communities by lashing out violence and even including massacring the Sinhalese and Muslims.  Hence, Vijayakala’s statement is an advocation of racial hatred.  There is a similar provision in the Prevention of Terrorism Act as well.

In this backdrop, Vijayakala’s controversial statement is a gross violation of the Constitution, Penal Code, ICCPR Act and Prevention of Terrorism Act.  In terms of these laws, Vijayakala should be arrested and remanded until the conclusion of the trial.  She should be punished with the death penalty after confiscation of her assets.  Alternatively, she can be imprisoned after expelling her from Parliament.  She will be stripped of her civic rights for seven years.

According to the above legal analysis, promotion of separatist terrorism is a dangerous act with disastrous consequences.  Let us now review, how these laws have been applied to Vijayakala.

Police have so far failed to arrest Vijayakala.  In the least, she has not even been questioned by Police regarding the controversial statement.  The only outcome of the incident was her tendering her resignation from the post of State Minister on the advice of Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe.

However, the loss of a ministerial portfolio has not been stated as a punishment when separatist terrorism is advocated.  The punishment that should be meted out is much more severe than that.  Unfortunately, it seems that she is above the law!
It is true that the UNP has appointed a disciplinary committee to investigate Vijayakala’s statement.

However, it has not even failed to suspend her membership.  When UNP MPs supported the Rajapaksa government in support of the war against the LTTE, the UNP rushed to suspend their membership.  However, when a member publicly makes pro-LTTE speeches, the UNP shows no interest to suspend the membership.  This duplicity clearly demonstrates the UNP’s pro-LTTE stance.

This duplicity is found not only in the UNP but also in the action taken by government.  After anti-Muslim riots in Digana, several hundreds of people were taken into police custody.  The majority of those arrested have nothing to do with the violence.
The only sin they have committed was being in the wrong place at the wrong time! Hence, they were just on CCTV camera footage on that fateful day.

Over a 100 persons so arrested are still in remand custody.  They have been refused bail.  Since they have been charged under the ICCPR Act, the Magistrate has no authority to grant bail.  Even the High Court can only grant bail under exceptional circumstances.  When 105 persons are  in remand custody without a shred of evidence, Police fail to arrest Vijayakala for her pro-terrorist public statement witnessed by the entire nation.

Vijayakala has attempted to justify her speech by saying she was under tension after hearing the rape and murder of a young girl.  However, she protected and granted the opportunity for Mahalingam Shashi Kumar alias Swiss Kumar, the prime suspect for the rape and murder of Sivaloganathan Vidya to make good his escape which was confirmed by the suspect himself in his confession in the High Court of Jaffna on 29 August 2017.

Why did she not feel any tension hearing the rape and murder of Vidya?
The LTTE kidnapped schoolchildren and tied cyanide capsules around their necks after providing military training by force.  Thousands of Tamil fathers were killed labelling them traitors by the LTTE.  An infant who was suckling was grabbed and his head was crushed by hitting it on a nearby coconut tree at Gonagala.

Thirty novice monks were slaughtered in cold blood in Aranthalawa by the LTTE. Why was Vijayakala not under tension after hearing any of these incidents?  Hence, her justification that she was under tension when she made the controversial statement is unacceptable.

She also made a second justification for her statement that Jaffna was free of crime during the time of the LTTE.  Jaffna has been under government control since 1995.  The entire North has been under government control since 2009.  There was no record of widespread criminal activities in the North until 2015.  Criminal activity in the North commenced during the government of Vjayakala’s party.

In the light of above, none of the justifications put forward by Vijayaka are acceptable.  Hence, law enforcement agencies should immediately take action against Vijayakala.

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