The silver lining in the crime
It is just too bad that amid the ongoing campaigning
for three Provincial Council polls, there has to be a spate of
crime centering on members of Pradeshiya Sabhas and kindred
local-level ‘people’s representatives’. As this commentary is
being written, scores of such personnel are standing accused of
committing a plethora of heinous crimes, including child rape
and the obstruction of police officials carrying out their
The news that the Health Minister of the North Central
Provincial Council is in remand imprisonment over a physical
assault he had allegedly unleashed on a doctor attached to a
Central Province health institution, should make the authorities
blush crimson. Clearly, some of our ‘representatives’ are
projecting themselves in the worst light.
The ‘people’s representatives’ who are thus standing accused
of committing crimes of the first magnitude are believed to be
running into the dozens or more and quite a few of them are
chairmen of Pradeshiya Sabhas. We do not intend to gloss over
these deeply disconcerting trends in our body politic. To do so,
would be tantamount to collaborating with the forces which are
inclining sections of local society in the direction of
lawlessness and moral decadence. Instead, we call for a swift
arresting of these dark and deleterious trends.
There is ample material for research here for our social
scientists. Why are some of our ‘representatives’ so suddenly in
the thick of the worst controversies? How is it that they seem
to be acting with the greatest disdain for the law, so
precipitously? In short, why is it that some sections of our
‘representatives’ are projecting themselves as being above the
In this commentary, we have taken-up these and scores of
kindred issues. One of the conclusions that we have drawn is
that the law is not being applied with the required rigour to
our political elite, some sections of which seem to be
interpreting this as a sign of weakness.
No-one is above the law, and this principle should never be
compromised. The ‘big’ and the ‘small’ of this country must be
made to bow to the law and the necessary checks and balances
must be instituted to ensure this most desirable state of
affairs. However, we hope that more research would be conducted
into these and many more troubling socio-political issues which
have been bedeviling Sri Lanka over the years.
These are matters for our academics and we hope they would
take on these questions as research issues, although somewhat
late in the day. What is befuddling is that although this
country abounds with what are called ‘research questions’, not
many are probed by our academics. Perhaps, if they did, their
demand for fatter pay packets would have struck a responsive
chord in the hearts of the public and the polity.
However, there seems to be a silver lining in this dark cloud
which is the local law and order situation. This consists in the
swiftness with which some of our law enforcers have swooped on
many of the seeming transgressors in ‘high positions’. Thus far,
it seems, the majority of the law breakers of this category have
been brought to justice. In fact, they have been brought to book
in almost double-quick time. Some relief could be derived from
this fact and we urge the continuance of this positive trend.
We would be most unjust if this aspect of the law and order
situation is lost sight of, although there could be much gloom
around us which justifies prolonged lamenting and groaning.
Although generally unsung, there are sections among our
Police who carry out there duties very conscientiously. May
their tribe increase, is our wish.
But we must also move on to long term measures in crime
curbing. We need the constitutional checks and balances which
would make power abuse impossible. If those wielding authority
and power are compelled to do so in a rigidly accountable
manner, the seeming high and mighty could be brought to heel.