The news that an
island-wide crackdown on illegal firearms is in the offing is
most welcome and we hope the effort would be a resounding
success. The law and order situation is a number one concern
among all civic-conscious sections and an operation to rid the
country of illegal arms could prove a very important step in
arresting the crime wave.
Crime in this country is a compounded issue. On the one hand,
we seem to be having a substantial number of illegal arms which
are instrumental in perpetrating numerous criminal acts. On the
other hand, we have this ominous phenomenon of the
criminalization of politics which is proving a definite spur to
the spawning of crime and numerous law and order questions. It
is not news that criminals enjoy the protection and patronage of
some politicians and this is rendering the process of
neutralizing these criminal elements doubly difficult.
Many of these issues were underscored by a number of killings
in Kahawatte, for instance, where the involvement of some local
level politicians with crime gangs was quite evident. However,
this is only one instance where the involvement of politicians
with criminals is pronounced.
Roughly from around the mid seventies, the trend of
politicians drawing on the services of criminals has been
gathering pace, with dire consequences for Sri Lanka.
Accordingly, while efforts are made to round-up unauthorized
arms, an endeavour must also be made by the state to break this
fatal nexus between the criminal underworld and conniving
politicians. Until this latter process takes hold in a major
way, no substantial progress could be made in the project of
containing crime in this country.
In a way, this is an easy task to perform. All that needs to
be done, apparently, is for the leaders of political parties to
weed out from their midst all those party men and followers who
consort with criminals and lawless elements. They must be shown
the door and asked to steer clear of the respective parties.
Besides, those politicians who are found to be patronizing the
criminal underworld must be taken to task promptly. Forthright
and quick action of this kind would help considerably in keeping
crime under control but the authorities must show more than
ample willingness to go ahead with these initiatives.
The law and order authorities of this country are quite
capable of wiping out crime but they must be permitted to do
their jobs without being prevailed upon from any quarter to
desist from cracking down on wrongdoers. In other words, the law
enforcement agencies should be severely left alone by
politicians. The law and order approach is one way of curbing
crime and it is the bounden duty of all to assist the law
enforcers in carrying out their duties.
Besides, it is befuddling as to why some politicians should
be permitted to carry authorized firearms in this day and age
when terror has been eliminated. We do not see any reason why
civilians need to bear arms of any kind when a whole gamut of
law and issues was eliminated with the quashing of Tiger terror
in May 2009. Of course, not all politicians who are permitted to
carry arms engage in lawlessness but the tendency to abuse ones
power is great when civilian personnel in authority are
authorized to be armed.
Another issue in the law and order sphere which is having
people very worried is the widely prevalent practice of some
politicians roaring past them in public with security personnel,
very often with hardly a care for the safety of civilians.
We do not see why each and every person in authority should
be thus escorted much to the discomfiture and even fear of the
majority of the public. Except for those wielding foremost
authority in this country, there is absolutely no need for
special security cover for politicians.
These and many more issues go to the heart of the law and
order question in this country. While it goes without saying
that illegal arms should be rounded-up, public security, as
could be seen, is a vexed issue and has many sides to it which
need to be attended to simultaneously.