Rathupaswala: The army should be educated on the right of private defence It is reported that the Army has appointed a committee to investigate the Weliweriya incident in which three people were killed and 60 were wounded. This is to say the least “Set a thief to catch a thief” or is it like “Horage [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Letters to the editor


Rathupaswala: The army should be educated on the right of private defence

It is reported that the Army has appointed a committee to investigate the Weliweriya incident in which three people were killed and 60 were wounded. This is to say the least “Set a thief to catch a thief” or is it like “Horage ammagen pena ahanawa wage” — meaning asking the thief’s mother to perform a ritual for clues?

The role of the Police is to ensure peace in the community. This is laid down in the Police Ordinance. The role of the Army is to destroy the enemy at any cost. This I believe is enshrined in the Army Act. These two are conflicting objectives, both defined and laid down in the law.

The Police are guided by the right of private defence of person and property. In a nutshell it means that one cannot kill another if there is no imminent threat to one’s life. There is also a clause which states that in the course of exercising the right of private defence, no harm can be done to that other person more than necessary. This implies the use of minimum force that can cause minimum injuries. For instance, no one can shoot to kill a man who comes to attack him with a foot ruler.

Police firing orders contain all ingredients that go to formulate the right of private defence of person and property. As said before Police can use firearms only if the danger is imminent and before opening fire they should consider whether the mere presence of the armed party is sufficient to cause the mob to desist from acts of violence or wanton destruction. The other instance causing death in self-defence is an assault by the offender with intention to commit rape, burning or damaging by means of explosives, houses, shops, stores and places of worship. Further the Police will have to warn the mob in all three languages of their pending action.

In keeping with regulations, the Police use rubber bullets, water cannon, tear gas and baton charge initially. It is only as a last resort that the Police will use live ammunition. Police are also entitled to open fire, if there is no person in authority present to take orders. That was what the army did at Rathupaswala though some say that they did not receive orders. However, whenever Police open fire after fulfilling the requirements they are found fault with; if they don’t open fire they are still found fault with. Sad to say, the Police are made the scapegoat.

Army personnel should be educated by qualified people on the right of private defence and its limitations and be familiar with regulations drawn up on the lines of police firing orders. If they follow such a course, the hassle of subsequent inquiries, commissions and investigation will not arise.

Bandula Seneviratne, Retired SSP, Colombo 08

Pillay visit: We did not treat her well

Navi Pillay was here at our invitation. She had a specific mission to fulfil. Instead of helping her to do her job, we treated her more as a joke than as a senior UN official — with a minister offering his hand in marriage to this motherly lady.

It is a pity that despite several women ministers in the Cabinet, none was chosen as a minister in attendance! Such a move could have avoided this shameful episode.

V. K. Wijeratne

Passengers hit by missing bus

The SLTB bus that serves passengers between Navasighawatta junction and Kuliyapitiya did not run on August 30 and 31. It may be due to a mechanical defect or some other problem but this seems to happen regularly. The bus starts its service at Navasighawatta Junction around 6.30 a.m. every day and usually passengers wait for it from 6 a.m. On days the bus fails to arrive, passengers have to board the first private bus that goes to Kuliyapitiya from Welipennagahamulla passing Navasighawatte Junction around 7.30 a.m.

Isn’t it the responsibility of the Kuliyapitiya depot authorities to put in a replacement bus when the regular bus has a problem? Are there no extra buses at this depot? I have seen several buses at the depot premises that are not repaired and getting corroded.

Why can’t the authorities repair these buses and utilise them instead of importing new buses? People do not crave to travel in luxury buses. They only want safe travel in a bus with some comfort.

I hope the Transport Minister will provide redress to these wailing passengers.

Affected Passenger

Discriminated pensioners and broken promises

The Sunday Times of July 28 published a letter by U.D.R.F. de Silva under the headline “Fulfil the promise made to pensioners at least in the Budget 2014’. Besides the written promise in the Mahinda Chintana of 2005 and 2010, the President on January 14, 2010 gave a verbal assurance to the pensioners at a Temple Trees function that the anomaly arising out of the salary increases granted to public servants would be rectified.

By an Act of Parliament, ex-MPs are assured of pension increases each time salary increases are made to sitting MPs. Why this discrimination between MPs and public service pensioners? Since 2006, the pensioners have been hoping against hope that the promises would be fulfilled. Many poor pensioners have died during this period.

How many will die before the government fulfils its promises? The pensioners are forced to drag on their miserable existence to their grave. The only solace for them is to think of the saying, “promises are meant to be broken”.

M.A.D. Wijesinghe, Nawala

Save our betel-chewing monks

In spite of newspaper articles and TV and radio programmes on the health hazards of chewing betel, it is sad to note that betel leaves are offered to monks after a ‘dane’ in keeping with tradition. Chewing betel is said to be worse than smoking. Even young priests have taken to this habit. It is our bounden duty to protect them and others. If the tradition has to be honoured, and betel leaves have to be offered, the priests should be informed of the dangers of chewing betel.

Also at danes, we see fish, prawns and even chicken are offered to priests. Fish and prawns undergo agonising deaths after a long struggle. It is said that “compassion is one of the noblest traits of the human character”. Why not show compassion to all living beings, both, human and animals, and “live, and let live”?

It is heartening to note that today, many monks, especially young ones, are vegetarians.

Lilamani H. de Silva, Moratuwa

Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.