Law and order is pivotal for a nation's health. Lawlessness in a country spells disintegration, and disorder leading to anarchy. Recent events in this country points to such a trend. University students, trade unions etc. have routinely taken to the streets and engaged the police in running battles. Not only that, there have been invasions into state institutions by unruly mobs causing damage to state property, as was seen recently at the Department of Immigration and Emigration. Hardly a day passes without a mob trying to break through police barriers, leading to the Presidential Secretariat or Temple Trees. The outstations too have seen many such unruly scenes in recent times.
Hambantota witnessed a new low, with mobs even trying to storm a venue occupied by foreign dignitaries and diplomats, in the presence of the Prime Minister and other government VIPs. Even the country's courts were not spared such indignities, if one recalls instances in the recent past, where our halls of justice were desecrated with the invasion of mobs, some in saffron robes. The day would not be far away when even our police stations would be invaded by gangs to challenge the authority of the law. Nay, it had already happened. The last thing a country needs is a challenge mounted on the fountainhead of the law and order establishment- the police.
On Tuesday, the FCID, an arm which comes under the Police, was virtually stampeded by supporters of MP Wimal Weerawansa, who was brought there for questioning, over misuse of public property, when he was serving as a Minister under Mahinda Rajapaksa. The police officers had to fight their way through the chanting crowd to get the MP out of the venue to the courts. Weerawansa was also seen breathing fire, ripping the government and the law enforcement to shreds, while the police remained mere spectators. Slogans were being liberally chanted, with one particular TV camera deliberately focused on a protester belting out a slogan against the Prime Minister with regard to the alleged Central Bank bond scam. This particular TV channel devotes its entire news segment to attack and vilify the country's Prime Minister, with the government reduced to a mere onlooker. How can a media institution act in this manner and still retain its broadcasting license must be baffling to many. The Davasa group was sealed by Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike for much less.
There is also another TV channel whose Morning News reader gives his own interpretation to news items in the press, putting the government in poor light. This channel went onto give lengthy coverage to the Hambantota incident, with selected footage to portray the government as the chief offender. It is also promoting communal tensions, by innuendo, in its coverage of news and interpretations of events. But the government has left it to its own devises.
Be that as it may, a strong view should be taken by the law enforcement authorities with regard to demonstrations carried out in front of police stations, or any other arm of the police, such as the FCID. If allowed to continue, the authority wielded by the country's law enforcement is bound to diminish in the eyes of the public. This would lead to the dangerous situation where unruly elements will become emboldened to act with impunity, leading to the complete breakdown of law and order. There is still a whole host of stalwarts of the former regime billed to be questioned by the FCID where arrests are imminent. Is the government going to permit demonstrations by mobs opposite the FCID every time such an arrest is made?
This begs the question as to who leaked the news of the arrest of Weerawansa beforehand, which enabled the MP to mobilise his supporters? Are there moles among the SLFP segment of the Unity Government, still loyal to Mahinda Rajapaksa, giving out the details? How did Mahidna Rajapaksa happen to divine the arrest of Weerawansa two days ahead?
The Government must probe who in the FCID or the Attorney General’s Department and other arms of the law enforcement, who were privy to the arrest, gave out this information that enabled Rajapaksa to predict the arrest well before hand. Who is the mole (moles) in places of authority trying to undermine the government's efforts to bring to book the crooks of the former regime? Is this the reason why some important cases pertaining to corruption are being dragged on?
The Yahapalanaya regime should ferret out those, who, as the saying goes, are playing a ‘double game’ while remaining in the fold. It (the government) is already taking heavy flak from the public who voted it into office expecting speedy justice to the corrupt, for its foot dragging. Little wonder that those in the Joint Opposition has thrown the government's anti corruption drive in its face, daring it to arrest even a single of its members accused of corruption. If the government fails to act, and act decisively, even the public will begin to wonder about the allegations made in this regard.