Let sanity prevail!
Posted on July 17th, 2022

Citizen Jane Courtesy The Island

A social media video clip is doing the rounds where a member of a legal profession who should be well versed in the law, is claiming that the Rule of Law and Human Rights protected by the Constitution of Sri Lanka is no longer valid post 9th July 2022. He thereupon declares that if any case is filed against any person who was a party to the Aragalaya on the 9th July 2022 they know the addresses of the private residences of the IGP and Deshabandu Tennakone, thus indirectly threatening the Police with destruction of their private residences if law is enforced against any perpetrator of a crime in the name of the Aragalaya. Thus, as per his demand, even if any person in the name of Aragalaya has violated the law of the land in the most atrocious manner, no legal action can be filed by the Police without risking the destruction of their private property!

What is shocking is that the BASL and those who gave leadership to the Peaceful Aragalaya” is stoically silent in the face of these declarations, refraining from initiating any disciplinary action against this member. Every member of the Bar takes an oath pledging allegiance to the Constitution and uphold and defend the Constitution of Sri Lanka when entering the profession. When a member renegades on such a promise and break their oath, the BASL as a respected professional body should lead by example, and take swift action against such member. Press notices to uphold the law of the country, are empty words, unless the BASL practise what they preach!

There are other radical elements in the name of the Aragalaya, now illegally occupying State Property, who in fact brazenly declare that they will not permit any Head of Government to be appointed, without their consent. What authority under what law do these elements have the power to dictate terms to any government or its citizens? Why are those who must uphold the law so silent in the face of these declarations, fanning the winds of anarchy!

The BASL made a colossal mistake at its initial press briefing, when it endorsed the takeover by the Aragalaya to occupy state buildings for all practical purposes and made a mere request to protect the property. It should have advised them, and warned them of the repercussions of overrunning State Properties, which is absolutely unlawful and illegal. They also undermined the armed forces without giving a fair account of the incidents that took place post 09 July 2022. The armed forces are entitled to resist an invasion and whilst their excesses must be condemned by all means, the focus of the BASL was to paint a David V. Goliath scenario, which was unwarranted, on the day. There was force and excesses on both sides, that is the undeniable truth which cannot be erased by fairytales of ultra-disciplined pious conduct, written by the victors of the day.

What the BASL and any peace-loving Aragalaya member should do is not encourage the flouting of the law but instill discipline that they displayed at the very commencement of the movement. How can one demand a system change whilst violating the law themselves? What confidence does the ordinary public have in the BASL and the genuineness of the Aragala members, if they are now placid in the face of their own fractions flouting the law and threatening the rule of law?

The Aragalaya and the BASL is entitled to take credit for the resignation of a corrupt regime and kudus to them for leading from the front. But as much as taking responsibility for the successes, they must also take liability for the lapses. Protesters claim others have infiltrated their ranks and caused chaos … it is not us but some others in the guise of Aragalaya”. If that is the case, the Aragalaya members and leaders must ensure that their names are not used in vain and no crime is committed in their name. They must act responsibly and with due diligence and assist the Armed Forces to enforce the law. The Armed Forces are not the enemy! They must be used to preserve peace! Not render them disable!

No one should be delusional to presume that the overthrow of this regime is a one-off incident. The gene is now out of the box. The young disillusioned radicals assume that this is the way forward. Dislike a regime, and let’s do an Aragalaya to overthrow it. This will be the name of the game in future unless nipped in the bud and the importance of a civilized society with the rule of law is inculcated and propogated without haste.

It’s time for the educated public to raise their voices not only against corruption but also against the preservation of the law. The day is fast approaching where we are another Afghanistan or Libya with jungle law!

Over to you, the BASL and the responsible members of the Aragalaya!
Citizen Jane

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