|Tuesday, 11 March 2003|
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"It is not wrong for the King to punish with Death Penalty those who commit grave crimes, such as murder. It is like uprooting the weeds to save the crop" (Thirukurral 550)
The Thirukurral was written by Thiruvalluvar 3000 years back. It was acclaimed a great philosophy (Vedantham).
The white man was enamoured and translated it and published in book form. To arrive at a balanced decision on this vexed question. It will be useful to reproduce a passage from the book entitled `The Tamil Nad in which Valluvar lived' by Samy Sidambanar published in 1956, in Tamil, the English of which is substantially as follows:-
(Page 118) - "The Thirukurral is of the firm view that severe punishment should be meted out to those who commit grave crimes such as murder. In ancient times even small offenses were dealt with severely. Those of ancient times believed that crime can be reduced only by suitable punishment fitting the crime. Death penalty was enforced on murder and robbery. Punishment must fit the crime, states the 'Silapadikaram; (by Ilango) another of the great epics coming down the ages... Any Government can enforce such methods of punishment in order to keep a check on the increase of criminals.
Necessary laws for such punishment and the courts for such purposes should be available in the country. This is in keeping with the principle enunciated in the Thirukurral."
The author Samy Sidambaranar goes on to state, "The need for such measures will not arise if there is good governance. These measures arise where persons who are greedy for power and selfish govern the country.
The devil will dance for some time and inflict sorrow on the people. In the end this devil will swallow the government which let it loose. This is the truth which history has shown".
I cannot agree more with the last para. In our country the devil has been party politics and as a result criminals have been encouraged. Murder, rape, arson, robbery, drunkenness and disorder are now common place. Contract killings are well known.
Therefore, for the safety of the innocent people and law abiding citizens of the country, there is justification to restore death penalty for a period of time, at least, until this country is assured of Good Governance. That would be a balanced decision and a pragmatic one.
Discipline in the Bhikku Order seems to be plummeting.
Of course, it can be argued that the law and order situation in the country has seen a downward trend during the last decade and indiscipline is prevalent in all walks of life - politics, schools, universities, public service, corporate sector and everything else.
Nevertheless when discipline deteriorates among Bhikkhus who in our country are looked upon for guidance and direction and from whom a high standard of behaviour is expected it has to be viewed with concern.
It has to be conceded that it is the politicians who dragged the Sangha to politics for selfish political ends which has resulted in their reaching out for power and material benefits thereby foregoing the respect they commanded. You now see the ugly sight of saffron robed persons participating in political demonstrations and rallies - whether they are real monks is another matter.
Bhikkhus have turned to be 'Kattadiyas' a practice not in keeping with the Buddhist Philosophy. They have taken to rituals alien to Buddhism for commercial benefit, misleading, unsuspecting and misunderstanding Buddhists. They sit alongside politicians on public platforms which is unbecoming of members of the Sangha. They have taken to active politics, which they should not have touched even with a barge pole.
It is unfortunate that the Maha Nayakas and Adhikarana Nayakas do not come forward to discipline the erring monks or disrobing them before they are produced in courts, if the Sangha Sabha is convinced that they have broken the Vinaya Rules.
It is time that the Buddhist lay organisations also stand up against the unbuddhistic practices and behaviour of the Sangha, which is sure to have an impact in controlling the situation.
UPALI S. JAYASEKERA
This refers to letter (DN, Feb 17), stating why the People's Bank should be privatised, for its own good and for the good of its customers. It is the only Bank in Sri Lanka, that has been robbed many a time, involving millions of rupees of public money, with neither discovery or recovery.
The letter says that, according to the Bank's Union, "the Bank has a debt of 14 billion rupees, out of which 6 billion represent loans granted to 4 customers, under political pressure, and the rest under political influences, or in reciprocating fortunes of Managers of various defaulting branches of the Bank".
The Bank has 323 branches and 188 Pawning and Savings Centres throughout the island. If this is the real picture, it is clear, that the Bank has failed in keeping with good banking principles, especially, on the investment side, the reason being political interference, which is endemic in most public institutions, with the result that the mortgaged properties of defaulters are saved from foreclosure action under the Bank's statute, and such properties do not come under the hammer.
The People's Bank was established by the SLFP government, in 1961, and opened for business on July 1, 1961.
The Bank of Ceylon was nationalised on July 27, 1961, to be on a par with the People's Bank with overlapping functions.
A careful study indicates that majority of the defaulters in loan repayments are from the People's Bank, as is evident from the foreclosure notices published in the press, under section 29D of the People's Bank Act No. 29 of 1961, as amended by Act No. 32 of 1986, which gives exclusive power to sell its mortgaged properties, without access to court.
The privatisation of the People's Bank would be a prudent course of action. The Union is not concerned with Bank's business but of the employees, who are supposed to be faithful workers.
Many people willingly donate to Cancer Hospital projects. Probably most of it is directed towards the buildings, equipment and drugs. On the other hand, the "living" condition of the patients is still very poor. A simple walk through the wards shows non-working fans, doorless bathrooms, oversized or undersized mattresses, worn out dirty linen and most of all, unloved (by their fellow human beings) patients.
Except a few wards, others are in a very pathetic condition. The nurses do not have comfortable resting rooms. After all, these patients are suffering the worst kind of disease, most of them are dying.
Many who come from far are not being visited by their family for months. The authorities probably can do only so much. But the Sri Lankan citizens who are well known for their kind hearts, can do much to alleviate the suffering of these patients.
If a group of people or an organization can adopt a single ward and attend to the electrical repairs, beddings, curtains and a few pictures may be to brighten up the wards, perhaps that will go a long way than, all the chemotherapy and surgeries put together.More than that, if some kind souls can spare a day per month to visit them it can perform miracles!
For a start Al Muslimaath has adopted the female wards and intend to do just that.
If anyone is interested in contributing, please call 726392, Dr. Reffai, Al Muslimaath, Coordinator of the Maharagama Cancer Hospital Project.
DR. MRS. MAREENA THAHA REFFAI
As a regular reader of the now defunct the Searchlight news magazine I remember reading the exposures made by its "Firefly" columns the manner in which the Soviet Communists captured power to set up the Eastern bloc Communist states of Eastern Europe and how the suppressed free thinkers, even soldiers took flight into real freedom in the West.
It would be very timely to publish the details of the manner in which popular political parties of countries like Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, East Germany etc. were subverted through Red activists infiltrating the ranks of the popular peoples' parties in these countries.
The result of course has been a massive flop and that we DARE SAY will be the final result envisaged in the unholy alliance that is being pursued by the Peoples' Alliance to woo the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, a positive misnomer taken in the context that it is neither pro Janatha, pro Vimukthi as amply exposed by their attempts to gain power at all costs by making use of the crest fallen Peoples' Alliance.
H. R. William
It is reported (26 Feb.) that the Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapakse is opposing the privatization of the CTB and calls upon the govt to cancel the deal. Mr. Rajapakse conveniently forgets that it is they who brought both the CTB and the Railway to their knees during its six years in power.
Despite his boast of 6000 buses being added to the fleet, the whole country knows that due to the rotten state of affairs in the CTB, the PA government was forced to invite private bus operators.
Consequently, the CTB was reduced to playing second fiddle, a miserable second fiddle at that, to the private bus operators, who came into existence, in the first place, due to the bankruptcy of the CTB.
It was the SLFP, under the late S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, who nationalized the bus services in 1956 and during later SLFP governments, the CTB was reduced to a money-gobbling monstrosity. One newspaper quite correctly reflected the public perception that the national wealth went down the CTB drain.
Can the Leader of the Opposition deny publicly that under their governments the CTB was free of widespread corruption, no ineffective management, no politically appointed stooges and thieves, not devastatingly overstaffed, no massive tender frauds in the purchase of buses, spares, equipment and building construction.
The PA big shots spent billions of rupees belonging to the people of this impoverished country for the purpose of enjoying a luxury lifestyle whereas nearly half the population is living in abject poverty.
Their greed knew no bounds because even a little money was not spared for repairing buses.
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