Justice has fled the entire system says Sinhala paper Sunday Leader - December 1996

Place: Sri Lanka | Courtesy: Sunday Leader
| Date: 19961201

"The country looked forward to an end to the anarchy and state sponsored counter-anarchy that came to be the hallmark of Lankan politics and society in the late 198Os and early 1990s... But most politicians seem not to have learned a lesson from the collective national trauma. Perhaps they alone have been left unscathed. Else, how come they remain utterly insensitive to the continuing rape, murder and political assassinations which continue to receive political patronage?

In fact they are widely believed to have been even promoted and sponsored by those wielding political clout. How else can one describe the disappearances and murders of some civilians in the north which are reported today? If Sri Lanka is to be a multi-ethnic society where all citizens are equal before the law, the government must not only appoint commissions to probe the disappearances in the south but also those in the north.

The incumbent government came on the campaign scene with slogans promising an end to dushanaya and bheeshanaya. Across the social divide, the tide of emotional support was wrenched from the United National Party in a huge vote of support. The people had had enough of bloodshed. The entire national soul, as it were, became blood-soaked in the cult of violence... Unhappily, it now seems a more deeply ingrained way of life. It has not been ended despite the sittings of a dozen commissions of inquiry. This was despite efforts being made to show the public that violence -especially state sponsored violence- is being honestly and equitably dealt with.

The youngest of children, young adults and adults keep on being reported as missing. Sometimes, their mutilated bodies are discovered in some collective grave. Sometimes, their charred remains scream to high heaven from some backyard grave for vengeance. Or for justice. .. One is also forced to observe our citizens living in a society that protected the killers- some or many in uniform.

The national newspaper pages pathetically record ever increasing stories of rape, murder, beatings, political killings and counter-killings, and suicides apparently motivated through fear or mental inability to contend with the fear of an unrestrained violent reprisal. ..This is the tragic and true state of affairs as far as law and justice are concerned in Sri Lanka. ...

Ultimately, even rape and murder in some remote place is tainted with either political intervention or protection that ensures the rapist, the murderer, the killer, the political assassin, the arsonist, freedom to strut free and terrorise society. The basic texture of political intervention negates social justice and the rule of law. It is a slur on the trust that millions of people placed in the government.

Campaign promises have turned out to be empty, insincere, hypocritical slogans aimed at weaning votes away to win an election by hook or by crook. The track record amply underscores this promise. Liberal democracy has been reduced to an absurdity as far as serious discussion is concerned. Justice has fled the entire system...." (Sinhala owned Opposition Paper Sunday Leader 1 December 1996)