|Thursday, 13 March 2003|
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Shining hour for the police
It is only right that we join Interior Minister John Amaratunga in congratulating the Lankan Police on ensuring peace and calm last Monday, when the SLFP and JVP held a rally in Colombo. Although there were widespread fears of disturbances on that day, nothing of the kind occurred - the security measures adopted by the police proving absolutely fool proof.
In fact a re-assuring calm reigned in most parts of Colombo on Monday, giving the lie to what seemed to be calculated rumours that anti-minority riots were on the cards. Firm, coordinated, far-sighted security measures by the police ensured that the day passed without incident. The stringent law and order measures exposed as completely groundless and malicious, rumours to the effect that Colombo would explode in riots with the complicity of some sections of the State.
However, although the loudly-trumpeted opposition demonstration which was expected to draw at least a million participants, proved to be a non-event of sorts in terms of the numbers which finally turned up for it, the rumour mills had apparently done some damage to the morale of the people, which is regrettable, although their original intention was to calumniate the State. For, schools had to close early that day out of fear for the safety of students. Parents of students, overwhelmed with fear and concern, thronged school premises for the safe transportation of their wards. Shops and business houses in some quarters of the city put up their shutters early in a mood of panic.
In fact some of these scenes were eerily suggestive of those dark days in the late Eighties when "chits" brought life to a standstill.
We hope this will be a lesson for the future. Rumours of this kind only dampen the spirits of the people and work against the public interest.
However, there is no denying that it was a resplendent moment for the Lankan Police.
The fact that the latter discharged their duties efficiently and impartially was proof of the State's commitment to keep the peace and of its non-partisan nature.We also have here evidence of the ability of the police to meet challenges of an exacting nature. Although the police has come in for some flak in recent times, the majority of police officers are apparently duty-conscious, efficient personnel. Left to themselves, they are capable of carrying out their duties honourably - this much is clear.
The bane of the police in the past was its politicization. Now that the National Police Commission has been brought into being, we hope the police would continue on this road of depoliticization.
We call on the police to carry on the good work and to continue to underscore its credentials as a neutral law-enforcer.
Produced by Lake House