Keep racism and politics out of the Bambalapitiya tragedy

By Thomas Johnpulle

(November 02, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mr Balavarnam Sivakumar was killed in a horrific manner in the shallow waters of Bambalapitiya. The whole nation is in shock over this because Sri Lankans are not used to this type of excesses regularly by the police although it is a more common occurrence in the US, Australia, etc. There is nothing racial or racist about the event. When the video first emerged, no one knew of the race of the attackers and the victim; no one cared. It was a sheer barbaric act no matter who did it and who the victim is. However, some parties with obvious vested interests have already given it a racist interpretation.

Following the racially prejudicial interpretation given by parties with vested interests, they are now trying to mobilize political capital over it! This is the most degrading treatment Mr Balavarnam Sivakumar and his memory can be subjected to. We have seen how they exploited the assassination of Hon Raviraj. But Raviraj and the ideals he stood for were pretty soon forgotten by them. Now the last person they would commemorate is Hon Raviraj. This must not be allowed to be repeated in the case of the recent tragedy.

Instead, religious activities must be organised to invoke blessings on his soul. Religious activities should not be overshadowed by racism or racism based politics. Also a sustained campaign must be organised to ensure all the culprits are punished as per the law.

The government should investigate the tendency of using excessive force by the police. A policeman, no matter how low he ranks in the police hierarchy, should not be guided by the spur of the moment. The other connected issue is about taking care of persons with temporary mental disorders caused by hopelessness, etc. This is a sizable problem among the youth. Extreme measures are not helpful at all. Sending them to the mental hospital in the outskirts of Colombo is too harsh. And counselling services - which are not at all organised - lack the next level of support. These are the issues concerned Sri Lankans should focus on; not making a case for racism over the event.

Considering these facts people must reject the politicisation of the event and attempts to poison ethnic relations. This is how we should celebrate the life of Mr Balavarnam Sivakumar and mourn his untimely death.
-Sri Lanka Guardian
mila said...

The person who got killed is Tamil and the thugs who killed is sinhalsese.

nalin711 said...

Mr. Johnpulle, I like your comment about the Sri Lankan law enforcement authorities not resorting to excesses. Of course we don't even know the meaning of the word in Sri Lanka! Shame on you rest of the world!

Unknown said...

I agree with the author. Because neither the cruel police officer nor the other person(might be a train passenger) knew the victim was belong to a certain race. But, this typical sri lankan police officer knew the victim was a "mentally disabled" person. Therefore this incident has nothing to do with politics or racism. this is yet another cruel act by a notorious police officer.


Yogananthan B said...

I agree that race and racism should be kept out of this.

The race of the persons does not matter at all.

Well said, Sir.

Frank said...

Good article but too late.

Disregard the race. Punish the criminals.

Unfortunately already some people have made it a race issue. For them everything is about race.

Unknown said...

Dear Mr Johnpulle,There are more silent majority who totally AGREE with your view/s.Sri Lanka has had more than its fare share of tragedies.Lets ALL PRAY for this Young Lads soul and GET the Police Brutality eradicated from Our Mother Lanka

Unknown said...

Mr johnpulle,

I was sorry to haer that mentioning that the Australian or US Police behave unruly. Quite contratry to what you say. They are accountable to the people that they apprehend or taken into custody unlike in Sri Lanka.

Anonymous said...

The author is right. There is no racialism here. But no one can deny the pure and simple police brutality involved. This is the third high profile incidence of police brutality in a short time; Angulana murders, SSP Vaas Guneratne's wife attacking a student and now Babalapitiya Police killing a mentally handicapped person. The government should take some serious action regarding this. In my opinion the IGP should resign as he clearly failed to send a message to the police after the previous cases!

Unknown said...

I watched the video few minutes after it was posted on the net. It broke my heart and brought to mind the question Where is justice in SL. Even if he was a rapist or a murderer, the law of the country is capable of dealing with him. Sadly it turned out to be a mentally unstable person. Honestly I do not believe that Justice will be done for the barbarians who work in the guise of policemen.

Ram Muni said...

The policeman seems to have taken the law into his own hands and this has resulted in the death of an individual, This must be investigated and if punishment is necessary, the law should be allowed to take its course. I have no doubt that the Sri Lanka police includes a unit that investigates its own for misdeeds. I agree with the writer in toto.