Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that the blatant violation of rules and regulations by political authorities has effectively reduced Sri Lanka to a lawless state.
“There is no law and justice prevalent in the country. Armed gangs have dominion in the North, South, East and West. Disappearances and abductions continue to take place,” Wickremesinghe told Parliament while making a special statement.
He said that 2,318 cases of rape and sexual abuse have been reported in the first two post-war years of 2010 and 2011. Some 431 recorded instances of child abuse and 1,112 instances of abductions and disappearances too were reported during this period, he said.
“Our forefathers, spoke with pride of a bygone era in Sri Lanka during which a young girl wearing valuable jewellery was able to walk from Point Dondra to Point Pedro without coming to any harm. The war in the Point Pedro area is now over. The Government says that the areas around Point Dondra will be converted to the Paradise in Asia,” he said.
There were restrictions on people’s movement at present. It was not possible for a citizen to travel from one place to another without fear. Holding a dissenting point of view attracted violence. The white van culture continues. In many instances, armed forces were linked to the disappearances and abductions. “People are abducted not only in high security zones but also inside court complexes. Suspects are killed inside police stations. Armed groups go on the rampage killing civilians,” he added.
Wickremesinghe made special reference to recent political killings. “Two supporters of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) have been killed in broad daylight by armed thugs at a public assembly. “Who provides shelter to the killers and how are they allowed to roam free? All rules and regulations have come under the jackboots of political authorities. It is not just in Hambantota but everywhere as well,” he said.
Wickremesinghe critiqued the politicisation of the police force following the introduction of the 18th Amendment. Absence of effective mechanisms to investigate human rights violations has made matters very serious, bringing disrepute to our country, both locally and internationally,” he noted.
Wickremesinghe also posed the question whether a separate ministry is to be created and allowed to function without political interference.
A special police team has been set up to investigate the killing of two JVP activists in Katuwana in the Hambantota District and the investigations will be free of any political interference, Leader of the House, Nimal Siripala de Silva assured Parliament yesterday. He said that statements from 25 eye witnesses have been recorded so far but no arrest have been made.
Minister de Silva was responding to a statement by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
There has been no political interference. The IGP has taken on the responsibility for a speedy and impartial inquiry,” he said.
By Gagani Weerakoon and Sarasi Paranamanna