In July 2005, hot-on-the-heals of the London bombings, the frightened police shot dead an innocent foreign youth inside a London subway; next day the Chief Constable, appeared on BBC and made a bogus explanation, stating that the ‘suspect’ disobeyed orders and ran towards the station, leapt over the gate and forcefully entered the place which compelled them to open fire.
However, the CCTV recording aired by the BBC, the next day, proved him wrong. It showed the victim purchasing a ticket at the counter, walking up to the gate, swiping the ticket for the gate to open and then enter. The CC, who wasn’t a political stooge, was compelled to bid good-bye to the service
In Sri Lanka, we are gifted with a Police Spokesman who is not only a senior officer but lawyer as well. This learned officer, in a vain attempt to rescue his ‘out of action’ colleagues in the south, not only provided entertainment to the public, but humiliated his department as well when he addressed the media a few days ago, tabling a set of meticulously prepared statistical evidence to ‘prove’ that the wanted criminal, ‘Julampitiye Amare’, had ‘only’ five arrest warrants against him!
Leaving the guardians of the law to the task of repeatedly bungling, the dynamic minister Rajitha defended his law-maker cabinet buddies, posing a question at a press briefing the very next day. “Who will put up posters and banners for us at elections?” He lamented that their support base includes thugs and other unscrupulous characters; stunning his audience, he continued saying that, there is nothing that they can do about it! He went on to ask the scribes, “how can we pick and choose who is good and who is bad?”
Can you ever think of a worse message, that two top men running two institutions, namely, the Police and the legislature, responsible for maintaining law and order, and law making respectively in a state, could convey to the younger generations? It is a pity that they have the audacity to make such irresponsible statements in that relaxed fashion.
O Tempora! O Mores!
The people of this land have for the past three decades experienced a culture of state sponsored goons under gang leaders who were close to some ruling party politicos operating without any hindrance. They even made the few honourable law enforcement authorities to be ‘professionally impotent’ spectators. However, it is worth mentioning that the UNP, and the JVP, who competed against each other in outnumbering the murders in 88/89, and the killing ‘extravaganza’ during the ‘Gonawala Sunil’ and ‘Soththi Upali’ era, neither the police nor the leaders did engage in the ridiculous practice of making immature or lame excuses over their terrorist actions; probably the reason for their current rhetoric.
K. K. S. Perera