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Government Gazette

Strengthening law and order

President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the aftermath of the military victory over the LTTE, declared that his next war would be against crime and lawlessness. He said this in the context that he now has a clear field to deal with issues that were held in abeyance as a result of the sole attention diverted to defeat of terrorism.

There are several issues which he can neglect no longer. The growing crime rate in the country is one and perhaps the most serious. That is why the President made a point of this in his victory speech itself giving the impression that he means business.

Three decades of war, it will be agreed, has bred a culture of impunity and the brutalization of society so much so murder and violence has come to be taken in their stride by the public.

Very often, serious crime went unnoticed in the wake of the more gruesome mass killings indulged in by the terrorists. In short the public had become anaesthetized to violence and crimes in the gun culture spawned by the war.

The war also gave a free hand to criminal elements to run amok and allowed for a thriving drug industry and other vices that were subsumed in the overarching presence of the terrorist problem.

The free circulation of arms was another direct fall out of the militarization process that provided the wherewithal for criminal elements to thrive.

The general militarisation of society was also a reason for the public indifference to law and order issues. Add to this the diversion of the traditional role of the police in dealing with local crimes towards that of combating terrorism also gave a free hand to criminal elements to have a field day.

All peace-loving people will now hope that President Rajapaksa would bring the three-decade-long gun culture in the South to an end in the same way he silenced the guns in the North.

Hence, it is time now to refocus on restoring law and order in the South that took back seat all these years during the military campaign against terrorism.

As a first step, the police should now be directed to revert to its traditional role as guardians of the law entrusted with the task of combatting local crime. There is also an urgent need to strengthen or overhaul the existing laws that deal with serious crime so that the menace could be tackled more effectively.

It is this context that the views expressed by the Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter the Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera assumes importance. Delivering an Anusasana to the new Chief Justice Asoka de Silva when the latter called on the two Mahanayakes at the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Ven. Thera stressed on the need for introducing stringent laws to arrest the growing crime trend in the country.

The Ven. Thera said “strong punitive action should be taken against wrong doers to set an example for others and induce them to be law-abiding citizens”.

That a member of the Maha sanga who generally takes a moderate view concerning punitive action to offenders should come out strongly in support of stringent laws to combat crime is itself a reflection on the deteriorating trend. There have been strong views in favour of adding more teeth to the existing laws both among the legal fraternity and prominent citizens in the recent past.

But as mentioned, with the Government’s preoccupation with defeating terrorism these considerations failed to receive the deserved attention. Now however, there can be no excuse for going all out to tackle this menace, with normality returning to the country and the de-escalation of the military scenario.

Like victims of the war, today there is a vast Army of victims of crime in our midst who have not got justice due to the ineffective laws in our statute books. The time has now come to reverse this state of affairs. The appropriate climate has now been created for the authorities to refocus their attention towards this very grave situation.

It is the President’s desire to create a new Sri Lanka that has just emerged from the ashes of war. This necessarily means a law-abiding society free of fear and apprehensions.

They have now been given the opportunity to go about their business freely without fearing for terrorist guns and bombs. They similarly expect the same freedom from the criminals and anti-social elements who prey on the innocent.

Now that the war is over, the law enforcement is in a position to give its undivided attention to combat crime. This should be reinforced in the minds of every single police officer. They should be backed by new laws with additional teeth. There should also not be any political interference in the implementation of the law.

The Government should start on a new slate to deal with the rising crime wave in the country by allowing unimpeded licence to the law enforcement authorities. Nothing short of an all out drive would suffice to eradicate the cancer of crime in our midst.

Policymakers and scientific community:

Need for clear co-operation

It is heartening to note that over the years you have taken many steps to promote the study of chemistry by conducting several courses of study at graduate level. I understand that your Institute is the largest single organisation in Sri Lanka, since 1979, that is producing chemists and also laboratory technicians to meet the needs of the industrial sector in our country.

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A birthday wish and tribute

A political philosophy can be made a reality only if there are loyal followers who will implement it with a passion. Defence Secretary had great empathy for the soldier, the sailor, the airman and the policeman who braved all odds to fight the LTTE terrorists and sacrificed life and limb to preserve the sovereignty and the integrity of the Motherland

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On My Watch

Why not international probe on UK in Iraq?

Sri Lanka fought terrorism the hard way, in the face of a multiplicity of obstacles placed by countries that have their own idea of who or what a terrorist is, and how such forces that are dangerous to society should be eliminated. The recent observation by a Pakistani General leading the operations against the Taliban in the Swat Valley that the leader of the Taliban there should be eliminated, did not raise the ire of anyone in the West.

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St. Michaels Laxury Apartments
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