The recent rape and murder of a Jaffna schoolgirl have seemingly taken a new twist. It revolves round the main suspect of this case having had been released by the Police upon influence, political or otherwise. The suspect, a Sri Lankan Tamil resident in Switzerland, was subsequently arrested at Wellawatte. He had apparently first been taken in to custody by the Police in the North where the crime had taken place, at Pungudutivu, a suburb in Jaffna, but had subsequently been released, due to influence.
The name of an academic has figured, in the securing of that alleged release from the North. The chief suspect was apparently very lavish in his spending. Persons of authority and a political party have been associated, as having had enjoyed his beneficence. He had also apparently posed for photos with VIPs. The message conveyed is that if one has influence, one can get away with rape and murder and similar such heinous crimes. This may have been the rule and not the exception in the past. But the tide appears to have turned after the events that followed subsequent to the 8 January, 2015 Presidential Poll.
The protests in Jaffna over this murder, stoning the Police and courthouse, were apparently due to this injustice. Injustice in the form of a suspect being released due to influence is a matter to be investigated. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has gone on record to say that this sort of public outcry in Jaffna was similar to the seeds that were sowed that created the LTTE. This is a seemingly short sighted statement made by Rajapaksa. The reason for the birth of the LTTE was due to actions of omission and commission committed by Sinhala and Tamil leaders alike even prior to independence. This was culminated by the deaths in Jaffna of civilians at a Tamil Literary Conference held in 1974, which the Police tried to stop. The following year, the ruling SLFP’s Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappah was murdered by Velupillai Prabhakaran who went on to become the leader of the LTTE and the rest is history.
If Rajapaksa is allegedly of the opinion that the release of a key suspect involved in the rape and murder of a Jaffna schoolgirl, probably due to his ignorance, and the subsequent public outcry resulting in the Court and the Police being pelted with stones, may once more cause the LTTE to rise, Rajapaksa should even now be educated to realize that acts of omission and commission committed by the authorities such as the alleged release of the key suspect by the authorities, only, may give rise to the rebirth of the LTTE, and not otherwise. The effects of this injustice were the stoning. It’s the “cause and effect” theory related to Tamil terrorism that Rajapaksa needs to first understand. Once that is grasped, it’s easy to prevent the rebirth of terrorism, whether it is in the North, or in the South, or elsewhere in the country.
The stoning was the symptom of the decease and the cause was injustice. That’s what Rajapaksa has to grasp. The stoning didn’t take place out of the blues. Some persons with vested interests may have had tried to lead the former president astray by not presenting the facts of the case. They may have had led him to believe that the stoning was due to the people in Jaffna rejecting the authority of Colombo and for no other reason. People in Jaffna or for that matter anywhere else in the country would reject the authority of Colombo if they feel that the Centre, rightly or wrongly, is unjust toward their legitimate grievances.
The Southern Insurrections of April 1971 and July 1987 are two such examples. Therefore, the solution to prevent the rebirth of the LTTE or any other terror organization is justice. The new regime has seemingly understood this lesson. The intervention of the Chief Justice and the President, where both, on different occasions visited Jaffna to assess the ground situation a few days after the crime, may be examples that those in power, at least now, are taking serious note to find the reasons behind such violent acts by a section of its citizens in order to prevent those from turning in to a conflagration, sooner or later.
Playing politics over such incidents is a dangerous game. The “South” should not have knee jerk reactions to reports of this incident which are communal in connotation. It’s also the duty of the authorities to state the facts of this case sooner, rather than later, wherever possible to the public in order to diffuse untoward reactions such distorted truths may cause either in the North or in the South. Knowledge is not only power, but knowledge also sets the record straight, for the greater good. Sooner than later, the truth regarding the Pungudutivu rape and murder case is out, the better.