|Wednesday, 15 December 2004|
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Deal firmly with lawlessness
The Government pronouncement that it is determined to root out lawlessness and its perpetrators from local society should heighten the morale of the Lankan citizenry and inspire it with tremendous courage in these anxious times.
Taking the lead in this Government offensive on lawlessness is President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga who has at no time backed down from discharging her responsibilities as Head of State and Government.
In fact, the recent violence at the Shah Rukh Khan concert has only strengthened her resolve to make Sri Lanka an exemplary, law-abiding country.
The wanton act of lawlessness at the above concert at the weekend proved afresh the pervasive presence of lawless elements who are ever eager to plunge Sri Lanka into an inferno of lawlessness and political turbulence.
A simple rule of the thumb in identifying such elements and their political and other affiliations is to find out who would gain most from lawlessness.
This approach to resolving the problem lends credence to the Government view that disgruntled political elements in league with the underworld are responsible for these disturbing developments of the past including the blast at the Shah Rukh Khan show which claimed two innocent lives.
The fact that the blast targeted an event which featured a group of Indian artistes points also in the direction of attempts to undermine existing cordial, Indo-Sri Lanka relations.
Therefore, this criminal act has several dimensions to it which need to be probed and we request the Government to get to the bottom of this tragic event as soon as possible.
There is a certain eerie familiarity about these developments which take our minds back to those dark days of July 1983.
The tactic of the then UNP administration was to run with the hare and hunt with the hound or more precisely, the godfathers of crime.
As is already well known, the July 1983 race riots were meticulously orchestrated by elements of the then government in complete cooperation with parasitic crime gangs, whom unscrupulous politicians were increasingly relying on.
The strategy was to whip-up ethnic and religious chauvinism for political survival. Towards this end, Tamil lives and properties were put to the torch with ruthless efficiency.
The July '83 holocaust, then, served a specific political purpose. Likewise, the attack on the Shah Rukh Khan concert. This time round, however, the crisis was nipped in the bud through the timely and firm intervention of the law enforcement authorities, firmly backed by the President.
In complete contrast to President J. R. Jayawardene who vacillated in 1983, President Kumaratunga lost no time in taking the situation in hand and restoring law and order.
We do not say that another ethnic riot was on the cards but certainly there was a sinister attempt to plunge the city into civil strife on Saturday night and thereby fan the flames of ungovernability. This is power politics all the way.
However, the motive to pit one social group or community against the other couldn't be said to have been absent either, when it is considered that the memory of some personalities was invoked.
We call on these trouble-makers with small minds but swollen heads to be agents of peace and harmony, rather than be instrumental in stirring the beast within man.
We also consider the Government's decision to probe the role of some media organisations in the run-up to the incident on Saturday night, as right. It was observed by many that some of these institutions were going to extremes in telecasting programs which stirred prejudice and ill-will.
Is this the freedom the privately owned-media are clamouring for? If that is so the intention, clearly, is to plunge the country into discord. What price objectives?
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