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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

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Uphold the Rule of Law

The drive-in shootings at a political meeting at Katuwana in the South a couple of days back, which claimed two lives, raise the unsettling possibility of the Rule of Law being dangerously undermined. Such incidents of lawlessness bode very ill for a democracy and we call on the state to apprehend the killers and to bring them to justice in the name of the Rule of Law and social stability.

While rumours would be taken at face value by only the naïve, the state has no choice but to bring the killers to justice in double-quick time. It is habitual for some to point an accusing finger at the state in incidents of this kind, but there could be more than meets the eye in these acts of lawlessness. For instance, there could be ‘spoiler elements’ seeking to damn the state in the eyes of the public, who could be resorting to acts of this kind, but this is only a possibility and we do not wish to prejudge the matter in any way. Instead, we call for the activation in full of the formal legal process that is applicable to issues of this kind.

The dispensing of justice impartially and vigorously is the most effective answer to the rumour mill. Those behind the killings, in other words, should be brought swiftly to justice, regardless of who they are. The Rule of Law must reign and it needs to be clearly underscored that no threats to law and order would be tolerated.

Well, the JVP cannot boast of an exemplary record on the issue of observing the law and the occasions have been numerous when they flourished in conditions of absolute lawlessness. The 1989-1990 rebellion is only a case in point. Accordingly, the JVP is in no position to pontificate on these questions, but there is no denying that the state must ensure that justice is done and that too very comprehensively.

However, it is most unfortunate that the Rule of Law is violated in this manner by those with, apparently, an eye to very short-term gain. One lesson that the political upheavals of post-independence Sri Lanka offer is that no good ever comes out of attempts to violate the law of the land. Whenever the Rule of Law was shattered, the country was plunged into anarchy and savagery. Such situations were in no-one’s interests. During such compounded crises, collective misery was Sri Lanka’s lot.

Accordingly, it cannot be emphasized enough that the Rule of Law must be upheld stringently.

This message needs to be passed-down by the leadership of political parties and actors to their rank-and-file members. As we see it, this is not happening sufficiently and it is up to the relevant leaders to ensure that this all-important message seeps in to the consciousness of their followers.

The local polity also needs to guard against the all too prevalent malaise of the arrogance of power. Whatever authority one comes to possess, such power should be exercised with the greatest circumspection and concern for life and limb. This lesson too must be learnt by the local political community.

‘Residual violence’ or persisting violence is a phenomenon post-conflict societies are plagued with and Sri Lanka is no exception. However, the issue must be addressed and remedied if Sri Lanka is to progress. One cannot be bedeviled with violence of this kind while forging ahead on the path of national rejuvenation and development. It is the absolute respect and regard for the Rule of Law and the maintenance of discipline that could help promote progress.

We also believe that the wounds the conflict left behind need to heal fast in this land. It is these wounds that account for a considerable proportion of the ‘residual violence’ which is obstructing our progress. It would be in the national interest to enable these wounds to heal completely.
 

A shared commitment to fight NCDs is the need of the hour

Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) have become an acute global crisis these days. People from developing countries are at most vulnerable status to NCDs. When Health Ministry Additional Secretary, Dr. Palitha Maheepala stated recently that, 71 percent of the total deaths reported from hospitals were caused by NCDs, it became obvious that NCDs have become an acute problem in our country, also.

Full Story

Reminiscences of Gold

The Law at his finger-tips

Today we focus on Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera, an International Civil Servant of high repute. He retired as Legal Advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after serving the ministry for over 30 years. He is an authority on International Law. “My family hails from Ruwanwella. I grew up in a village in Ruwanwella. And then we came to Mount Lavinia for our studies in Colombo. My father had a political background. He was a Member of Parliament and a Senator. I studied at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia.

Full Story

Take a bow – academic staff of Colombo University, Law Faculty

This is not a mere paper article. To be honest, one can say, this is a letter of gratitude. As we all know, currently, a non-academic strike is underway in all the universities in our country. According to Sri Lanka's Inter University Trade Unions Federation, this strike has been called islandwide to force government to rectify the salary anomalies that have been there for a long now. And, they have vowed not to suspend the strike until their demands are granted.

Full Story

Mahapola Scholarships: they survive the great man, Lalith

I heard the shocking news over the radio while lying in a hospital bed: Lalith Athulathmudali gunned down. The assassin’s bullet tore into his heart while he was addressing a meeting at Kirulapone. Devastated I left hospital to visit the man, now dead, whose Publicity Officer I had been for ten years. It was an edifying association with the brilliant Oxonion and I was never fettered in my work; I sensed a new press freedom not vouchsafed to me before.

Full Story

Holding regular meetings, keeping records, at DS and GN levels

Following the establishment of Divisional Secretariat Reconciliation Committees in all Divisions in the Vanni, follow up meetings were held in June in Oddusuddan, Puthukudiyirippu, Karachi and Vavuniya North Divisional Secretariat. As one Divisional Secretary observed, the difference in the problems raised was remarkable, and indicated the great strides made in the resettlement process.

Full Story

 

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