Media recently, quoting Police, said that 23 persons have been shot dead in the country since 30 May of this year. This translates to 23 killings in 38 days discounting three other killings, including two such killings reported yesterday.
Quoting Police spokesman SSP Nihal Thalduwa, media further reported that members of organised crime gangs, linked to drug trafficking, were involved in the shootings. He said that it has been uncovered that most of the victims were individuals involved in criminal activities.
Some of these shootings and/or murders have taken place within Court premises while cases were being heard, others within the Police station/s, itself. And if the Police have identified that these killings are drug related, where then are the corresponding arrests?
Whether the above 23 victims were drug addicts or not, or common criminals siphoning off fuel from parked cars and selling them at black market prices, or, despite the gravest socioeconomic crisis that the country is facing after obtaining independence 74 years ago in 1948, they are all, either citizens or aliens of this country, equal before the law, having the right to live and for their cases to be heard and dealt with by the law and not be made victims of extra judicial killings.
Police are maintained by the taxpayers’ money to ensure that the law is upheld and not for citizens or aliens to be gunned down, sometimes in broad daylight and at times such killings being captured by CCTV cameras yet, the killers escaping scot free, awaiting to commit their next heinous crime/crimes.
Therefore, it’s the bounden duty of the Police, including Thalduwa, to inform the public how many arrests have been made in this connection? How many of those cases have been solved/remain unsolved? If unsolved, the reason/s for such a situation/situations? And, finally, is the cause of such killings and/or shootings, the symptoms of the 9 May malaise? The Police are an extension of politicos, a hallmark of Gota’s infamous Twentieth Amendment (20A).The sooner 20A is checkmated by 22A which “assures” the independence of the Police, the better.
It was also in the month of May that a group of goons, in broad daylight, assaulted the protesters camped opposite Temple Trees, Colombo and at “GotaGoGama,” opposite the Presidential Secretariat, Fort, Colombo.
They were assaulted while the Police looked on passively. The crime committed by these peaceful protesters was calling for former President and then Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa and his younger brother, then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign.
These took place amidst record cost of living and inflation, shortages of essentials, from fuel to cooking gas to food to medicines due to the country’s US dollar assets having had been robbed by the Rajapaksa clan and ill-judged agriculture policies of theirs which scarred harvests led by rice, the country’s staple food.
Those resulted in record, endless long queues for days being formed in search of such scarce commodities spearheaded by fuel and cooking gas, consequently leading to a record number of deaths due to exhaustion, dehydration and the aggravation of other ailments. Also, record days long power cuts due to not having dollars to import coal and diesel to provide uninterrupted power, a thriving black market, bribery, corruption, nepotism and cronyism.
Adding to these woes, schools and government institutions are closed ‘half’ the week because of the Government’s inability to assure an adequate public transport system because of the fuel crisis, another record.
But what about justice for the aforesaid 23 victims and their families, with the first of such killings reported as recently as 30 May? The country’s slide to anarchy may only be stayed if all are held accountable for acts of misdemeanour committed, regardless of their status.