Police Chief Pujith Jayasundera is in the eye of a political cyclone with President Maithripala Sirisena wanting him to quit and sections of his coalition partner in the UNP administration wanting him to stay put.The President is disappointed over the rise in the crime rate. Some UNP ministers, much the same way they claim Sri [...]


Police chief’s crime theory off the target


Police Chief Pujith Jayasundera is in the eye of a political cyclone with President Maithripala Sirisena wanting him to quit and sections of his coalition partner in the UNP administration wanting him to stay put.The President is disappointed over the rise in the crime rate. Some UNP ministers, much the same way they claim Sri Lanka’s economy is the best in Asia, insist that crime is under control.

IGP Jayasundera, who meets his senior DIGs periodically at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) auditorium had his own explanation.
The Police Chief says that while the rate of crime is less, the brutal nature of some crimes makes them more visible. He says that when two murders happen in close proximity to one another, the news goes out through various media “and gets amplified.”

Coming from the man who leads Sri Lanka’s Police Department, it is laughable, indeed. In the years past, crimes were committed mostly with iron rods, kris knives and shot guns. Even the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) used locally turned out crude Gal Katas which fired shot gun cartridges.

Now, however, criminals use sophisticated weapons, largely leaked from the three-decade-long separatist war. There are automatic pistols, assault rifles, grenades and even sub machine guns. That has not only sophisticated the crimes but has also increased incidents. Police detection of such weapons has been rare.
Yet, the Police Chief says new preventive programmes are being launched in villages. He says there will be a more visible presence of Police in villages as well as towns. Plans are also afoot to send out Police teams in bicycles. These, indeed, have been done before.

Taking part in the conference were senior DIGs, including those from the Narcotics Division, the Criminal Investigation Department and the Special Task Force (STF).

Parliamentarians unite for Gandhi and his policies
A special four-hour parliamentary session was held on Friday to commemorate the 150th birth Anniversary of the late Mahatma Gandhi.
President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan and a host of other lawmakers from across the board took part in the proceedings and spoke on Gandhian philosophy, values and their relevance to the present day.

Several of the speakers drew reference to the inspiration that Sri Lankans gained from Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle for independence, his policy of Satyagraha or non-violent resistance and to his visit to the country in 1927 when he travelled widely over a three week stay in the island.

Jaffna MC wants to rewrite history
The Jaffna Municipal Council has appointed a five-member committee with the task of ascertaining whether the contents were accurate in a plaque put up at the Jaffna Library.

This was after a Tamil National Alliance member complained at the council meeting that a plaque at the entrance to the library gave “the wrong history.” He wanted it removed.

The Jaffna Library was set ablaze on May 31, 1981. It was renovated in 2003. TULF Leader Veerasingham Aanadasangaree was to declare it open.
However, the LTTE “ordered” that the Library should not be opened by Mr. Anandasangaree, an upright politician of yesteryear and former MP for Kilinochchi. He was in the bad books of the LTTE. It was opened without a ceremony a year later. Hence a committee is now looking into the contents of the plaque before taking a decision.

The content on the plaque is as follows;
“This renovated Jaffna Public Library was declared open by Hon Veerasingham Anandasangaree, MP for Jaffna District and President TULF on 14th February, 2003 at the request of His Worship Sellan Kanthiyan, JPUM, Mayor of Jaffna in the presence of Hon Municipal Councillors and Municipal Commissioner E. Ramalingam”.

Minister does justice, as officer vies for post
The Justice Ministry Secretary’s position was falling vacant with the incumbent official due to retire shortly.
An officer who thought she was the most eligible person for the post started a campaign for it and sent text messages around that she would be succeeding the topmost official.

The same official was earlier responsible for carrying out a campaign against another senior official leading to an investigation against her. The officer had been cleared of the allegations and was set to return to her previous job. Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorala who was made aware of the on-going competition has now told the Ministry Secretary to stay on for another six months and an extension has been granted.

Defence Attaché in Moscow: Dayan gives his version`
It was like a 1000 kilogramme GP (general purpose) bomb dropped on a target by a Sri Lanka Air Force aircraft during the separatist war.
Our report last week about the country’s Defence Attache being recalled to Colombo, like the ferocity of the bomb, echoed both in Colombo and Moscow. The collateral damage fell even on the business sector which is raking in profits from million dollar deals with Moscow causing discomfort and anger.
First to a letter sent to the Sunday Times and MTV and posted on his Facebook page by Dayan Jayatilleke, Sri Lanka’s new Ambassador to Russia. References made to other matters not relevant to the subject in question have been deleted.

“Your newspaper published a story last Sunday about the Sri Lanka embassy in Moscow and actions purportedly taken by the Head of Mission with regard to its Defence Attaché. The story is factually inaccurate.

“The headline of the newspaper story “Defence Attaché recalled from Moscow after Dayan’s protest” is false. I made no such “protest”, still less “an official complaint”. Furthermore at no time did I “send in a report to the Foreign Ministry” nor tell anyone that I “could not be the head of only one part of the Embassy”.
“I have made no official complaint about any staffer and have sent nothing in writing to either the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Defence which is anything remotely like a protest, complaint or criticism about any staffer.

“While I did make certain minor critical observations about a staffer in good humour, in agreement with his superior officer at an informal dinner –observations about minor infringements that I had already made to the staffer in question — these have been taken out of context and embellished or spun, which is unfair both to me as Head of Mission as well as to a staffer who is extremely competent in the discharge of his professional duties. In the interests of balance and fairplay the newspaper should have checked the story with me, which it did not………. I would be grateful if your newspaper were to publish my refutation of your story of last Sunday.”

Jamis Banda adds: As is clear from Ambassador Jayatilleke’s response, his thrust is to disassociate himself from the recall of the Defence Attaché though he claims he had made “certain minor critical observations.” Firstly, it is a matter of time before the Defence Attaché returns to Colombo since his organisation has already advised him to be ready to leave at short notice.

As for “embellishing” or the report “being spun,” we must bow to his superior knowledge and wide experience on embellishment and spin. He is emphatic that he had not forwarded a written complaint over an “extremely competent” staffer but only made “minor” observations. I stand corrected.
However, I might add that pressure moves are already afoot to retain the services of the DA in Moscow at the highest levels.

Education Minister gives lesson on how to cut through traffic
It’s not often we see a government minister hopping on the pillion of a bike to hitch a ride to Parliament. So when the youthful Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam did it on Tuesday to head to the legislature in a hurry after his ministerial escort was stuck in heavy traffic at the Parliament road due to a protest by pensioners, it made big news.

The Minister decided to ditch his luxury vehicle and hop on the nearest two wheeler to cut through the traffic. “I was stuck in traffic for nearly an hour and got off the vehicle as I had to get to the House on time. There was a scooter that was going by. I put my hand out and asked the boy to drop me off near Parliament as I had to get there in a hurry,” the Minister said.

The young man had been in a bit of a shock but had obliged. The security, keeping to their duty, started running behind the bike, but the Minster had asked his security escort to take their time and come once the traffic cleared. The scooter cut through the traffic and the Minister managed to get to the House on time with files that were needed to answer three questions that had been listed under his name. On arrival in parliament, a journalist noticing the minister without the helmet pointed out he would have to pay a fine for the offence. The minister quipped, ‘No it’s not me, but the rider who brought me’.

However, not all who were stuck in traffic were as that sporty. UPFA Parliamentarian Chandima Weerakkody who was stuck in traffic raised a privilege issue from the Floor of the House and complained that he had been obstructed from coming to Parliament, a matter that comes under the outdated Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act. Given the number of protests that take place near the Parliament area, it is best that MPs get used to hitching motorcycle rides in future to cut through the traffic.

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