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Thuggery and politicisation

| by Bandula Seneviratne

( February 14, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Some of the Notorious thugs, and extortionists that blazed the trial in Sri Lanka over the years were choppe, madavi Some, Cheena, Nawala Nihal, vooru Tilak, kudu Ruwan, mola Chaminda, Manasmi, kangetta, atha kota Dias, Gonawala Sunil, wammbotta, kalu Lucky, and Beddagana Sanjeewa to name of few. They held sway during certain periods with the backing of the politicians in power. Politicians needed them and they needed the politicians. Both parties were hand in glove. The Police did not interfere with the acts of thugs for fear of reprisals by the politicians by way of a transfer to uncongenial god forsaken station. As a result of police and political protection, the thug and the kappan karaya had a field day. This was the rule of the day. The rare exception being the likes of sub inspectors Rahula Silva and Olympiad boxer Sumith Liyanage who drove terror into the minds of the local thug who was invariably a coward. Such sub Inspectors of police were like the biblical character Abraham in the lions den who did not care damn for lions and the lions did not care a damn for Abraham. This was their attitude towards politicians.

As a result they were not overawed by politicians and carried out their police duties honestly. On the contrary the crooked officers in charge of police stations backed the thug and the extorter to the hilt promoting them. They looked the other way when thugs and extorters operated. There was a time when Gonawala Sunil walked alongside streets senior police officers came to attention, addressed him "Sir" and saluted him. This was followed by the subordinates who were compelled, obliged to do so. Hence police promoted thuggery. For politicising the police I hold the superior officers responsible.

Once down south a S.S.P. in uniform went down an all fours (mi. msysgqjd je¢u) to a politician and requested that he be taken to his province. This was done, add the senior officer did all the dirty work for this politician and the former was made a D.I.G. In the second instance of a S.S.P going down in the same manner paid its dividents. He became the head of the police department and later entered the diplomatic service. Acts by both S.S.P.s were shameful and became the talk of the town. Take the unsolved cases of murder of Richard de Soyza, Lalith Athulathmudali, President Premadasa, Editor Lasantha Wikramatunga and Gamini Dissanayake. The police knew the accused but prevailed upon by politicians not to pursue investigations.

It was a requirement in the good old days that a Inspector has to be the officer in charge of grade one police station to be eligible for promotion to the rank of A.S.P.. But today there are A.S.P.P who have not seen the colour of a A (1) police station when they were inspectors, On the contrary there are instances of inspectors not getting promoted to the rank of A.S.P. after serving in A (1) for over two years because they did not supply goods and services to the powers that be namely politicians. In my police career of almost 40 years I was transferred from Kadugannawa, Embilipitiy4 Poddala, Galle, Badulla and Trincomalee by Politicians. But the reasons given by the department was exigencies of the service and routine transfer.

In the post script of Mr. Edward Gunawardena's letter on 30th January to the island he has mentioned "Do as I tell you" minister tells DIG sums up the degree of politicization of the police. In the final analysis it is crystal clear that it is the police who promoted thuggery and politicians. They played a placid role and were compelled to do so for the rewards they received from politicians. The police will continue in the back burner and play second fiddle till a miracle takes place a high octane performance by the superiors is required to put matters right.

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