Vying for credit over Madush arrest | Daily News

Vying for credit over Madush arrest

While many politicians these days are trying to claim the credit for the arrest of underworld God Father Makandure Madush, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to break his silence and set the record straight on how it all began. Speaking at the opening of the ‘Lakhiru Sevana’ housing scheme in Maligawatte on Tuesday the Premier disclosed the chain of events that eventually led to the successful operation against the narcotics business. At the outset the PM revealed how he together with former Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka summoned all police officers to a meeting and inquired from them as to what was preventing them from busting drug rackets. He (Premier) was told that it was the politicians who were preventing them from taking action.

“The police officer suggested that I advise the ministers and MPs not to call the police and request such and such a person be released,” he said. It was thereafter that they entered into serious talks with the police and formed a special unit under DIG Latiff to go all out to bust the drug networks. The Premier also said he was getting feed backs from the police in 2017 that operations were being successful. The spate of arrests made in the past few days was the culmination of the plans put into action at the time, the PM stated.

The nexus between politicians and the drugs racketeers is only all too well known to need elaboration. The drugs menace would certainly not have reached such humongous proportions if not for this link. Already details are filtering in about the close ties established between a certain JO politician in the South and Makandure Madush although feeble attempts are being made at denials. It was also a drugs underworld gun battle during the campaign rounds of a politician that claimed the life of a woman in Kotahena at the time of the 2015 general election. It was also a politician, well known for his public antics, who saw off the notorious Kudu Lal at the Airport when a warrant was out for his arrest. Not just extending protection to drug traffickers, there were politicians who themselves were running the drug business, big time. One such politician, a former MP from the Colombo district, instead of being hauled before the law, was rewarded with a Monitoring MP post overseeing the Ministry of Defence, no less. That worthy is today spending life behind bars after being convicted for the murder of another politician in what was said to be a drugs related feud. That was the extent to which politicians were neck deep in the drugs business. How then could the police have taken action against drug traffickers when it was politicians themselves who were the drug kingpins, operating with the full knowledge of the country’s leaders?

Hence the steps taken by Premier Wickremesinghe to break the Gordian knot should be commended. His efforts obviously are bearing fruit, with media reports suggesting that the arrests in connection with drug offenses have dwindled considerably following the arrest of Madush and his accomplices in Sri Lanka.

Politicians should also be told not to interfere with the police in all matters concerning the maintenance of law and order. In fact they (politicians) should also be not above the law. It took a MP three full days before he surrendered to the police after allegedly assaulting a policeman. Will an ordinary citizen be allowed such leeway after assaulting a member of the law enforcement? Premier Wickremesinghe should ensure that his instructions to the police are carried out uniformedly. There were also occasions in the past where politicians stormed police stations and occupied the OIC’s chair. Room should not be left for such practices. Police officers, in turn, should not condone such conduct but stand up to the politicians and assert their authority. The security of their jobs is now ensured with the establishment of the Independent Police Commission. No officer could now be arbitrarily transferred or dismissed at the instance of politicians. We have already, in these spaces, referred to certain police officers in the past who brooked no nonsense and carried out their duties conscientiously.

Police officers should also be given special incentives to carry out their duties efficiently and effectively. It is not known if members of the police service are entitled to a risk allowance. If they are, then the quantum should be increased, given the danger they are exposed to in their fight against the drugs underworld, whose members are armed with sophisticated weapons.

The Police service should also be ungraded and modernized in order to equip its officers to face up to the new challenges. It (police service) should also revert back to its true role of being a civilian law enforcement force, shedding its war mentality. More and more programmes of interaction with the public should be organised to improve police-public relations. This, no doubt, would facilitate police duties and functions to a great extent, since public corporation is vital for the police which depend on information for its investigations.

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