Arrest those goons!
Posted on July 27th, 2017

Editorial Courtesy The Island

We thought the practice of deploying goons to operate alongside the riot police to crush public protests would end with the 2015 regime change. The present-day leaders, in the run-up to the last presidential election, promised a clean break from the past and a new political culture. But, two-and-a-half years on, we see pro-government thugs operate openly in full view of the police, assaulting as they do protesters, with absolute impunity. They were first sighted in Hambantota, where they pelted stones at a group of Opposition activists protesting against the signing of a controversial port deal with China about seven months ago. Police shamelessly shielded the rock throwing thugs.

On Wednesday, the yahapalana regime laid bare its true face once again. It unleashed its goons on the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) workers engaged in a strike against a government decision to hand over the state-owned oil storage facilities to China and India. The military may not want to fight another war for fear of being hauled up before war crimes tribunals. But, the army and the navy go flat out, at the drop of a hat, to crush protests because the UNHRC and the so-called international community don’t care two hoots about workers’ or students’ rights here.

Armed to the teeth and in full battle gear, hundreds of soldiers launched what may be considered the biggest operation since the conclusion of the war in 2009 on Wednesday. Their Entebbe-style offensive, with zero resistance from unarmed oil workers, helped bring the CPC facilities under military control in next to no time! The troops were backed by the STF in the task. After the army and the STF had secured the ‘enemy territories’ a group of club-wielding yahapalana goons swung into action to carry out mopping-up operations around the Kolonnawa oil installation. They can be seen in the photographs we have published including the one on this page today.

Police valiantly descend on even drunkards who micturate in public. They also round up schoolboys who misbehave near girls’ schools during the big match season. But, none of the goons who assaulted the CPC workers had been arrested until this edition went to press.

Various excuses are being trotted out for police inaction. The Police Spokesman has apparently gone missing. What takes the cake is Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera’s explanation. He has, true to form, put his foot in the mouth once again. He doesn’t seem to have learnt anything from his disastrous encounters with Susie and Malinga. He has, in answer to a question posed by this newspaper, claimed that the CPC protesters were attacked by members of the public who were angered by the strike. We are reminded of one of the many goon attacks on protesters under the Rajapaksa government. UPFA thugs were once seen carrying sticks among the riot police personnel in Colombo. Subsequently, asked why police had not taken any action against the thugs, the then Police Spokesman audaciously claimed they may have been carrying sticks to ward off stray dogs!

Many civil society outfits, trade unions etc, threw their weight behind the yahapalana campaign, condemning the Rajapaksa government and promising to restore the rule of law and democratic rights. Where are those ardent champions of democracy? Their silence is deafening.

The goons who set upon the CPC workers can be easily identified. They must be arrested for that serious offence. The yahapalana government must ensure that police act without further delay. Let all civil society organisations, human rights groups and trade unions be urged to crank up pressure on the government to do so. It is no use asking the Joint Opposition to take up cudgels for the people whose rights are being blatantly violated. It, too, has chosen to play softball with the yahapalana government. Its bark is worse than its bite! There is a pressing need for a robust Opposition to act as a counterweight to the present administration which signals left and turns right.

4 Responses to “Arrest those goons!”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Using goons alongside police, army, PSD is practiced since 1977. July 1980 strikers were attacked and killed by them. July 1983 was done by them. These goons became mass murderers in 1989 and continued until 1994. They resurfaced in 1999 to attack journalists and continue until today. Vandalising the state printing department in 2003 to prevent the president taking over the lotteries boards from the then trade minister by goons is a case in point. This politician is very tightly attached to lotteries boards then as now! He also features in the bond scam investigation and even in the Rajaratnam case.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Yako, umbalata Yamapalana sasthraya therenney nadda, thawamath?

    Kiyanakota ehemai, karanakota mehemai!

  3. Ratanapala Says:

    Many have seen the pictures of the goons attacking the strikers. In this strange land called Sri Lanka it is difficult to understand what would make them angry. Has what is called justifiable anger altogether left this land? Whatever is right or wrong in the strikers demnads – GOONS HAVE NO PLACE THERE!


  4. Kumari Says:

    Aren’t we indebted to the family that introduced Dharmishtapalanaya followed by Yahapalanaya? I wish these people rot in hell.

    UNP is just like the American administration. No brains. Only option is use of force. These are “Play ground bullies”.

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