Arrest of Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan also known as Pillaiyan last Monday (11), though belated by a decade is undeniably positive progress. People responsible for political assassinations and crimes of all sorts, although it may not be all, are being apprehended.
During the past decade or so these ‘alleged criminals’ were turned politicians by successive governments and baptized ceremoniously into the mainstream of politics in the country. That act itself is massively detrimental to human values and democracy a government of a country stands for. This was all done in the name of politics and the benefit of the country, although it did not turn out that way in the end. It also a move for politicians to win elections in areas where these ‘alleged criminals’ once held innocent people at gun point.
Pillaiyan is no Saint to the people of the Eastern Province. He was deemed as a terrorist as much as Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna. People of the North and East shunned them as terrorists, only for them to enter the orthodox politics of the country. During the regime of the late President Premadasa, six hundred policemen in the Eastern Province who surrendered to the LTTE reportedly on the orders of the government were reportedly massacred. All of them are still missing and all fingers were pointed at the then LTTE Leader of East, who happened to be Karuna himself.
These murders were severely criticized by the then Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Opposition. However, in an ironic turn of event, the same Karuna was made a Minister and a Vice President of the SLFP in the Eastern Province. That was the politics practised in the past by Southern Leaders.
Malcolm X had said “To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is.”The actions and the crimes that went unnoticed perpetrated by Karuna and Pillaiyan, after they turned coats for their own benefit, did not deviate from those of a criminal. We know it is bad and is not generally accepted to label individuals for the actions they have committed in the past. However, in this case, we are helpless at the hands of the truth that everyone is aware of. The crimes they committed are famous secrets that everyone has heard or known.
All the more, political interference in police investigations must come to a halt immediately. Law and Order and Prison Reforms Minister Tilak Marapana PC earlier said that the government had allowed unreserved freedom to police without political obstructions as it would help curb crime and corruption in the country. And, in more recent events the Constitutional Council has sent the names of the eligible individuals to be appointed in the Independent Police Commission to the President. The Constitutional Council which was re-introduced to Sri Lanka through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is somewhat of a consulting process and not an arbitrary one which was observed in the previous administration. The President is forced to make a choice between the nominations made by the Constitutional Council without having to choose someone out of the Council’s recommendations.
At a time when the crime rate of the country is seemingly increasing exponentially, and with regards to child abuse, sexual offences and murder, it is essential that the police must have a free hand to investigate all types of crime, without political interference of any kind. After all, the long hand of law is to enforce law, not to nanny politicos.
There was undeniably a grave breakdown in the law and order of the country over the past decade mainly because of the political interference in police activities. The only solution to mete out proper justice to the crimes that take place in the country is to first of all give full freedom to the police force that can “commit and be confident to uphold and enforce the law of the land, to preserve the public order, prevent crime and terrorism with prejudice to none – equity to all,” as said in the mission declaration of the police.
As far as the general public is concerned, the police have failed to stand by their vision and mission.
Writer Lemony Snicket wrote, “Criminals should be punished; not fed pastries.” Likewise, it is good that the current Yahapalana Government is taking a firm stand on arresting and apprehending alleged criminals who ran amok in the country. Next step is to prosecute these alleged criminals through an independent legal process and punish them for their crimes. This appointment of the eligible individuals to the Independent Police Commission should not be delayed.
Furthermore, providing provisions to Pre-Trial Procedures through amendments to the Civil Procedure Code is also a matter that should be enacted without delay. The provisions should be provided to resolve the long delays in trial procedures which have already undermined public confidence in the Judicial system and the public is confronted with serious financial problems with this situation.
Crimes that are committed under malicious reasons are not a cultural, political or racial phenomenon, no matter the case. Evil is a human phenomenon. The ball is in the President’s court now. Let’s see wait till the Independent Police Commission and other proposals see the light of day.