Whither Sri Lanka?
Posted on October 13th, 2011

Mahinda Gunasekera

Sri Lanka has been teetering on edge waiting to explode in a manner such as the deadly shootout which has so far resulted in four deaths, and several serious injuries to persons in a public thoroughfare on October 8, 2011. Tthe fact that persons of questionable backgrounds with criminal records are nominated by the recognized political parties to represent them in parliament, naturally leads to a breakdown of law and order. Politicians of the calibre of Mervyn Silva running around with a bunch of thugs and meting out summary punishment to ordinary citizens of the country is shocking to say the least. It is also reported that some politicians who crossed over to the government party have had serious criminal charges against them dropped or suspended. In such circumstances, how can the public have trust in the state authority and institutions to deliver justice and fair play.

 Unless steps are immediately taken to clean up the political establishment, de-politicise the Police Service, and ensure the independence of the judiciary, the rot will continue and there will only be chaos and anarchy. It would be a sad day indeed to see the country go down the slippery road of corruption, thuggery, abuse of power, after so many men and women have sacrificed so much to regain the country from the abysmal depths of terrorist violence from which we raised ourselves after three decades of fear and frustration.

 These incidents and general lack of discipline, deep rooted corruption, tolerance of extreme abuse by politicians who get away with any kind of behaviour, not only leaves a bad taste but it creates an ugly image of the country to the world outside. Furthermore, those who sought to break up the country through terrorism and brute force, others opposed to the ruling party, will use this situation to cause as much damage to the country especially at a time Sri Lanka is being pressured to submit to international probing based on unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing. Even other well intentioned citizens too would speak up in the hope of rectifying an immensely bad situation.

 The excellent way in which Sri Lanka defeated the so called invincible terrorists and the caring way in which she cared for the rescued Tamil civilians who were forcibly displaced and used as a human shield by the LTTE terrorists, and other work done by both the state and the public at large to help the affected people and rebuild the nation will all come to nought, as all that good would be negated by the uncontrolled abuse of power by criminal elements running wild in the public domain.

 Given below are copies of press releases that I found in the internet, which are obviously put out with varying agendas and motives both good and bad. The time to act and save the nation from greater harm is now .

 Mahinda Gunasekera

20 Responses to “Whither Sri Lanka?”

  1. Ben_silva Says:

    It is highly dangerous to allow thugs to enforce the law. Law enforcement must be carried out by law enforcement authorities and not by thugs. It was perhaps such behaviour that made Dr T. R. to comment that politicians are terrorising the country.
    People need to stabd up and be counted.

  2. radha Says:

    It addition to the Police, it is necessary to de-politicize the armed forces too. From what we have read in public domain information, it seems that Defence Secretary has totally politicized the army, with all the important posts held by Generals third class from support services. Those charismatic generals who have commanded the respect of soldiers have been demoted, forcibly retired or sent off to command paper laden desks in foreign capitals, today’s army has been downgraded to a ceremonial outfit from what was an efficient fighting force that we had in 2009.

    All that leaves the unofficial fascist armies run by wild dog politicans’ to flourish, taking law and order into their hands, and prescribing summary punishments including death to anyone who gets in their way.

    It is this dangerous tide that the President must stem, if not foreign powers will use this as living proof of the break down of law and order, and the trampling down on the Human Rights of Sri Lankan citizen. They don’t have to keep harping back to the terrorists last stand in May 2009. The proof is being enacted on our streets now in broad day light.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    Lets be clear on one thing – there was NO incident of “politicising the army”, “militarization”, etc.

    What happened was a group of unlawful thugs carrying out their agenda. The CLOSEST thing to that is how barbarians attacked alleged “grease devils” recently. Not many cared about the victim – a police officer. Strangely when some thugs kill each other (remember no civilian died), it gets more popularity!

    There is absolutely no need to demilitarize, depoliticise, etc. the army, etc. because of these events. There is no connection.

    That is a COWARD attempt to disturb stability and peace. That is called “wither SL” too!!

    Lets be clear on what really is and what is not. Lets solve the problem and not change unrelated matters.

    It was not the defence secretary who “politicised” the army to the little extent it may be politicised. That was how it was. When governments change, army commanders too change pretty soon! That has been the practice always. If the army was not politicised in the 1980s, GR would have ended up the army commander in 1988!!

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    We cannot complete stop violence. Violence should be minimised and remaining violence should be directed at the enemies of unitary SL.

    There are still many threats that need to be given the May 2009 TREATMENT. It is part of our GLORIOUS history now. We cannot talk of SL without it. It is SL. And I’m 100% sure it will be reenacted another many times in the future.

  5. Raju Says:

    From what we have read in public domain information, it seems that Defence Secretary has totally politicized the army

    Oh really and whats your source “in the public domain” to back this up? Does it happen to be LNW, LeN, “Sri Lanka Guardian” and the rest of those bastions of “media freedom”? The only person who politicised the Military (or tried to) was Mr. Fonseka during his US backed election campaign and aborted coup and this is what is in the “public domain” and known quiet well. The fact that some old Military failures sidelined to menial roles during the concluded war (2006-09) for incompetence during previous phases of the war but happened to be on “good terms” with Fonny and wanted “their piece of the pie” getting punished is not politicisation of the Military, it was prevention of it. These people got drunk on the idea of power and authority Fonseka (in collusion with the US) was offering them is what would have led to not just the politicisation of the Military but the eventual conversion of Sri Lanka into another Burmer with Fonseka declared supreme leader. A well known outcome planned and desired by Fonseka that was thankfully averted by the masses of this country resulting in those party to it being given a good kicking.

  6. sarath Says:

    It is a good article Mahinda. Unfortunately, we Sri Lankans are not prepared to speak loudly when such things are happening irespective of race, relegion and status. We as Srilankans should join together to get rid of terrorism in any form(whether it is state sponsored, opposition sponsored).

  7. Marco Says:

    SJGH Board sacked on some trumped up charge at short notice!
    I wish they would investigate gang warfare with equal vigour.

    A taste of “politicising the army”, and “in the public domain”

    Read what you will.

    Unions protest against armed personnel within SJGH
    October 14, 2011, 10:20 am

    By Lal Gunesekera

    The All-Ceylon Health Employees Union (ACHEU) on Wednesday night lodged a protest with the director of the Sri Jayawardanepura General Hospital (SJGH), Dr. Savindra Gamage, against the presence of armed personnel within the Hospital.

    The ACHEU’s Chandana Jayalath told The Island yesterday that the protest was lodged as the employees of the hospital were inconvenienced and there were even persons in civilian attire with revolvers on their waist while some were carrying T56 automatic weapons.

    He said that the union had requested the Director to confine the armed personnel at the entrance to the hospital and not within its premises.

    Director of SJGH Dr. Savindra Gamage told The Island that he had not received any such protest.

    Commenting on UPFA Parliamentarian Duminda Silva, who is warded, in the ICU of SJGH, with serious head injuries sustained in a shooting incident at Mulleriyawa on Saturday (8), Gamage said that the patient’s condition was the same and progress slow. He said it was too early to make any other comment.

    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=36803

  8. douglas Says:

    Thank you Mr. Mahinda Gunasekera. You have hit the nail on the head. The people of Sri Lanka are at the present moment lamenting ” Aney, Anichchan. Mokada Me Wenne”. (Alas, what is hapepning). After winning and eradicating the ruthless “terrorism”, this Govt. is unable to win the war against its own clan of “Terrorists”.

    Deepal: What about the eye witness who said that he saw “Duminda” first slapped Bharatha and he fell to the ground. Then he pulled his pistol and shot Bharath on his leg. (please note, this is according to what is reported in the media). Why Police not notifying that to the Courts and ask for protective custody of the MP Duminda who is receiving treatment at the Sri Jayawardane Pura Hopital? Should’nt he be a prime suspect in the murder of Bharatha? Of course, Police will say that there is no complaint to that effect by the victim. The victim is no more.

    Also Deepal, please remember, there is a “system”, (in Sri Lanka,) called “billy boy” who agrees to surrender and accept any crime, provided they are looked after financially and very well protected. This is a well organized system orperated by the underworld gangs and the real criminal goes free. Of course, the real criminal, has to pay a lot of money for this “billy boy” operation. Who knows whether these so called arrested belong to this system? So far the information, is that they are all underworld gang members. So there will be lot of people who will admit to have paid passage to India and provided protection. Well, as you said, we will wait and see.

    We expected a lot from this Govt. ( minimum of decent linving, free of corruption, intimidation etc.) and still hope that things would change for the better. We have not given up hopes. Look at a Minister who goes to a Hindu temple and releases the sacrificial animals. Although, it is a good deed, he is not the authority who is entrusted with that responsiblity. Now the, LTTE rump is planning to interpret that as a “human right violation” and the Govt’s “active high handedness in supressing the minority,Tamils”. This is highlighted with the threat that Muslim’s issued to the Minster that he would be seriously dealt with if he tried the same tactics on the sacrficial of goats on their holy day. Evidently the Minister in question was silent after that threat.

    Next, this same Minister summoned a parent who ciritcized a lottery of a school to raise funds to build a swimming pool and slapped him in the presence of the buddhist clergy and the school pricipal. This has been well documemnted in vedio clips and those working to bring the S/L Govt. to book are very active preparing the next “Channel 4”. This will be screened along with the Kollonawa shooting.

    “Whither Sri Lanka ” is a very appropriate subject that every Sri Lankan should raise at this stage and draw the atttention of the Govt. Also, remember the outside sources and big powers are waiting with “dollars” to organize the so called “mass prtests” for democracy which would give them an opportunity to put their fingers into the affaris of the country. The dangers are imminent, unless the Govt. and the people are waking up to recognize the seriousness of this situation. So emminent writers and experts, please take up this situation for a very serious discussion and bring home the truth and press the governing parties to wake up and initiate some concrete steps to drive away this menace and clean the stable.

    That is the greatest service to my country at this point of time.

  9. sarath Says:

    “These incidents and general lack of discipline, deep rooted corruption, tolerance of extreme abuse by politicians who get away with any kind of behaviour, not only leaves a bad taste but it creates an ugly image of the country to the world outside.”

    It is very true but who is capable of doing this and what will be the cost and benefits of doing this. The problems of lack of decipline, deep rooted corruption, tolerance of extreme abuse by politicians starts from the day of Independence. Where to start? Top top bottom or bottom to Top. For example. Do we know where the corruption starts? It is at the top or bottom. On the top, say politicians, capitalists look the ways to exploit every opportunity to make money illegally. To do that they need to have the support of underworld criminals, support of the police and so on. So they have to break the laws. This makes poor policeman to engage with corruption. So that goes on to bottom. Who has the gut to challenge the top? Is there any answer? This is the characteristics of the third world nations. It is only possible when the people of the nation join together as force in solidarity but the people are divided in terms of race, relegion, social status. So far we have not seen the light. Will it come?

  10. douglas Says:

    Sarath – I do not agree with you. Where to start ? is your question. Simple. Satrt at the top. If the President downwords are disciplined and behave like “true gentlemen” and carry on the governance, it will set an example to the rest. The capitalists (perhaps you refer to the “business community”) would never resort to asking for favours or go through the wrong way to obtain their fortunes in the wrong way. There are well laid down procedures and everyone from the Top must follow it and no favours, however much important will never be circumvented for any reason whatsoever. The next is to follow the steps of transparency and allow the public, including the media the right to obtain information. The next step is to come down hard on anyone who violate the procedures and meet out punishments through the junstice system, which should be swift and fair. A long drawn legal battle in courts will be expensive and will not bring the desired effects of commiunicating the results to the public.

    The ordinary man on the streets and villages are waiting this to happen. So don’t say that there is no way. There is a way, if there is a “will”. The politicians from “Top” to “bottom” are not bent on good governance, but simply bent on maintaing and hanging on to power in the wrong way. They spent a fortune to get into power and naturally they have to recollct that by hook or crook.

    For example, look at the Police. Are they allowed to do their job independently? If any criminal is arrested, there will be a politician who will call on the Police to safeguard him. On the otherhand, the Police offficers, themselves act in the most stupid manner in many instances and lost the confidence of the public. The Angulana case and the Dompe cases are examples. Why?. The recruitment and the taining process are so bad and leave room to be disired. Go round the city and suburbs and see for yourself the type of people who have been recruited to the Police Force. Can they command respect and expect them to be law-enformcement personnel? In all that process there is Political influence and interference.

    Travel to other countries and compare the stature of the personnel who man the law-enforcement divisions. The recruitment procedures are so taugh and rough and the training programmes are well designed that they are looked upon to be the custodians of the law to “protect and serve.” They are made capable.by training, to carry out their assigned duties without favour and their dicisions are only to be challenged through the legal systems. So the public have a tremendous trust, confidencs and love towards them.

    What do you find in Sri Lanka? I was cought for speeding and the officer bluntly told me that if a ticket is given you pay so much, but it can be settled, if I pay a lesser amont to him. So what more? This is the type of corrupt administration, at the very botton, we have.

    In other countries, the officer will issue the ticket and explain the legal system available to me in case that I decide to challange his dicision. If I try to bribe him or talk my way through, he will issue me another ticket and that will be another offence.

    So think who corrupted this system? It is no one else, other than the elected representatives of the people. That is why I say that it shoud start from the “TOP”. Just think of what is going on in Kelaniya. The elected respresentative declares himself as the “thug” “law” ect. Would the :TRIPPLE GEM” ever bless this country, even though, the day is started with the “PIRITH” chanting on all media outlets aired beginning at 4.00 a.m?

  11. Ben_silva Says:

    Douglas, you mentioned Chanting and triple Gem. Has the triple Gem protected us ? Has chanting achieved any thing ? It is perhaps a neurolinguist tool. Are we still in the dark ages, hoping that chanting and preying will work ?

  12. OaO Asithri Says:

    Mahinda, well presented viewpoints that one can agree with…

    Except:

    “and ensure the independence of the judiciary” is what gave me the hiccups.

    By making this statement, you are insinuating today the judiciary in SL lacks independence!

    This is a pretty serious insinuation and it is also an allegation that all anti-SL elements including the LTTE terrorists and LTTE-sympathetic NGOs and LTTE-corrupted western politicos have dished out with unrestrained glee all along at Sri Lanka, and continue to do so even today!

    Mahinda, what is your basis for making this statement? What irrefutable evidence do you have that compels you to make this insinuation?

    On the contrary, I have seen many solid examples of the independence of the nation’s judiciary.

    One such incident, although admirably the judiciary clearly showed its independence I was appalled by the judiciary’s verdict (against the GOSL), was when the judiciary declared that it was unconstitutional and illegal for the GOSL to force-remove individuals from the NE who were staying in Colombo’s seedy lodges with no valid explanation for their presence in the city during the height of the war with the LTTE and when suicide and car bombs were going off in the city with ever increasing, horrifying, frequency!

    So, I think we need to have a balanced perspective and not unnecessarily play into the hands of anti-SL elements, who are today active as ever to bring Sri Lanka to her knees, with this type of insinuation.

  13. Dham Says:

    Fool,
    This knind of violence has nothing to do with chanting pirith.
    In USA, Australia, Canada and your own UK worst crime is happening. Do you remember a Muslim boy was killed with an axe whacked thorugh head soon after bombing, you FOOL ? If we are in dark ages , you are in a deep hole in the same age.

  14. sarath Says:

    Douglas,

    I agree with you that it should be started at the top what to do? I know people are waiting there but there is no charismatic leadership to lead and guide the people to bring down the top. People power is distracted by various things and our politicians are capable of cheating the people using race, relegion and other sensitive things.

    Dham,

    The western democracies also have corruption, crimes but they have proper law and justice system where even prime ministers can’t escape. The media is powerful in these countries. Unfortunately, here it is not like that. One good example is the Defence secretary Liam Fox.

  15. Dham Says:

    Sarath,
    Sir Lanka too has proper laws but order is no there because of nothing but political decease Westerners imposed on us.
    What is better in Britain ? They ruin the world and earned money. They invaded other countries, carried out genocide in Australia, destroyed our unique Sinhala Buddhist values and gave us prostitution, drunkenness, gambling and all their barbaric habits.
    Gon Silva is proud of his science, buildings roads, police army and so on.
    We are proud of our culture.

  16. radha Says:

    Gentlemen, pirith and Triple Gem might have worked in Sri Lanka if we ever had some really pious leaders governing our country. Instead, what is it that we have been cursed to get? Leaders who parade around with trays of Jasmine and White Lotus in front of Dhanta Dhatu, yet conceal their black hearts when it comes to governing the country. Has anyone heard about that state in India in Lord Buddha’s time, called Lichchavi?

  17. radha Says:

    PS: What the voters are blind to see, Dhanta Datu sees through the pretentious imposters.

  18. sarath Says:

    Dham,

    Of course, it is true Westerner’s invaded us and ruined our culture. You are saying that we are a cultured society. The invaders had only 100-200 years of history in our country but we have a history of morethan 2000 years of good culture. British has left more than 60 years ago. What stops you from get rid of those bad culture and human values such as prostitution, drunkenness, gambling and other barberic habits and bring back the true buddhist values. Don’t you think it is shame to continue with the barberic habits in a buddhist majority nation for over 6 decades. I love buddhism and Buddha’s principles. Can you please tell us What are the good values of Buddhism and whether you are prepare to give up all bad habits of the western habits such as science, roads, buildings, police and army?

  19. AnuD Says:

    Why people who says they handled the mighty LTTE is not capable of handling these kudu mudalalis.

    Even general public knows how many kudu mudalalis are living in Colombo and how many run the system and which politicians are involved in it.

    If so, why govt sluths do not know this and the govt is inactive on this.

    The religion or The way if living are immaterial as the religions and monks are politicizeed.

  20. Fran Diaz Says:

    Over Westernization & Politicization of religion is the the worst thing for Lanka, whichever religion.

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