Nonis-Sajin Saga The good, the bad, and the pathetic

2Two different assaults have shaken Sri Lanka in the past few days. One was the assault on a street prostitute in Ratnapura called ‘Batti’. The second was the assault on Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Chris Nonis.
The alleged perpetrators of the assaults are a police officer, and a Member of Parliament.

There are differing views regarding the assault on Batti. However, there is no excuse for such an assault. The incident had allegedly occurred in the first week of September. However, it only came to light in the final week of that month after a video of the incident was uploaded to the Internet. Barely two days after the video started circulating online, the police sergeant involved in the assault was interdicted. An inquiry is also currently underway.

(One thing to be noted here is that the video does not depict the incident, but only begins at the moment Batti is being assaulted. There is a story making the rounds now alleging that Batti had first thrown a stone at the police sergeant. We cannot also blindly accept the allegation that the police sergeant had tried to force Batti to engage in sexual intercourse. This is because there are enough and more examples of women using this allegation throughout history to vilify the characters of men.)

Let us now turn to the other incident. The victim in this one is a respected and well-educated diplomat, who was hailed by the state media as a hero for his role in representing Sri Lanka only months ago. We have not heard anyone questioning his allegiance to the government either. However, the chances of him simply making up the allegations of an assault are relatively slim. Though, there is no video of the incident, unlike in Batti’s case, most would be ready to believe the allegations in this incident than the earlier one. However, what is the fate of UPFA Parliamentarian Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, who is said to have assaulted Dr. Chris Nonis? What action was taken against him? How is it that his fate is different from that of the police sergeant?

The height of lunacy was achieved on Thursday, when the media briefing convened by Sajin Vaas was cancelled at the 11th hour. The reason given was that he had to join the delegation that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was taking to officially invite Pope Francis to visit Sri Lanka. What sort of a moronic decision was that?

Including a man accused of assaulting a celebrated Sri Lankan diplomat in a delegation to meet the Pope; one of the most revered religious leaders in the world, is nothing short of an insult to the pontiff. It gives no end of ammunition to anti-Sri Lankan groups such as those of the Tamil Diaspora to attack the country further.
The fact that the application of the law in this country is based not on the status of the assault victim, but on the status of the perpetrator, is a bitter pill to swallow.

We do not know if Sajin Vaas went with this delegation with the intention of confessing his sins before the Pope and asking for his forgiveness. However, the greatest tragedy in all this is that the so-called patriots of this country have descended to such a level of bankruptcy that we can’t even find a three-wheeler driver to protest against the assault on one of our most celebrated diplomats.

The episode

Sandun Jayawardana

So, long story short: Our High Commissioner to the UK is assaulted at a party in New York, allegedly by the Monitoring MP to the External Affairs Ministry, who is drunk at the time (allegedly). The High Commissioner then submits his resignation, which for some mysterious reason never reaches the Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo (if the MEA is to be believed). The Minister of Mass Media and Information at first says a resignation letter has been submitted and minutes later, is forced to retract that statement. Meanwhile, after several days of deafening silence, the High Commissioner finally confirms to the media that he was indeed assaulted and has submitted his resignation. The Monitoring MP admits there was an argument but claims there was no assault. Later in the day, we learn the Secretary to the MEA has filed a complaint against the High Commissioner, the nature of which is still unclear. The President (from the Vatican, no less) orders an immediate investigation into both. Meanwhile, our diplomatic service hits a new low.

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