5th Column

Breaking the limp arm of the law


My Dear IGP,

I thought I must write to you because you and your department seem to be in the news these days, what with innocent people being killed for the crime of attending political meetings and wanted criminals surrendering quite voluntarily!

IGP, I know you are only doing your job-and it is a difficult job to do because you have to keep everyone happy-but I feel something is wrong in our country if armed men can storm a political meeting, shoot two people dead and then disappear without a trace.
It doesn’t help, IGP, when everyone appears to know who masterminded those killings and then you appear before the media and say that the alleged mastermind will be arrested only if there is evidence against him.

It is even more damaging when someone who claims to be the Director General of the Media Centre for National Security sits beside you and claims that he knows who is responsible for the killings-and that it happened because of an internal dispute among the rathu sahodarayas.
Common sense would dictate that if this gentleman knows who is responsible for the killings, he has only to let you know about that and then you will go about your job, which is to arrest those responsible. Instead, he chooses to make a public spectacle of the event as if to say that the alleged mastermind, you-know-who, is merely an innocent bystander.

Now, you could have excused him and put it all down to inexperience or incompetence if this was the first time this gentleman said something like this. But if I remember right, IGP, when a parliamentarian was an accused in the gruesome murder of one of his own party stalwarts, this gentleman leapt to the parliamentarian’s defence and declared that ‘he was not a suspect’.
Now, pardon me if I am wrong, IGP, but I thought that deciding whether someone was a suspect or not was the job of your department and eventually the Attorney General’s. Has there been a re-allocation of duties where the Director General of the Media Centre of National Security has been vested with those powers, IGP?

As if that is not enough, IGP, the alleged mastermind, who has been on the run for the past ten years, suddenly surrenders to the courts, apparently for the offences he allegedly committed ten years ago. Ah, isn’t this a wonderful coincidence and doesn’t he have an impeccable sense of timing!

I would have suggested to the Director General chap at the Media Centre for National Security that he should have posted bail for this gentleman and had him released but I didn’t do that because more surprises were in store.

That is when I really realised why everybody is saying that Sri Lanka is the miracle of Asia, or ‘aasiyaawe aascharya’ as they like to call it. Why, IGP, it so happens that this gentleman had made a visit to the prison, while there were five warrants issued for his arrest by your department! Maybe the prospective tenant was checking out his accommodation!

I am not sure what you should do in such circumstances, IGP. In fact, I am not even certain whether we need a police department anymore because everyone who is accused of some offences appears to be surrendering! Why, soon after this alleged mastermind surrendered to the courts, we had a senior minister surrendering to court as well!

So, IGP, I think you should seriously consider closing down your department and sending in your retirement papers. Why, on the one hand your department is unable to arrest any criminals on your own and on the other hand, they seem to be surrendering anyway. So, you might as well call it a day and save the government some money.

But before you do so, IGP, you will need to record the statement of that parliamentarian who was accused of being involved in the killing of one of the stalwarts of his own party. That young man disappeared soon after the incident and was then found to be in Singapore but was too unwell to speak-or so they had us believe.

Again, maybe because this is the land of miracles, he is now apparently alive and well and saying ‘Hello, kohomada’ to no less a person than our Prime Minister who happened to be at the same hospital.

Now, IGP, I think you should try to record a statement from him as soon as possible because he will either disappear or fall sick again or, maybe even surrender to courts in keeping with the latest trend that seems to be afflicting our most wanted men!

But of course, you really don’t have to worry about what happens to our criminals thereafter. We have this excellent system of dispensing justice speedily and effectively: they are referred to the Central Committee of the SLFP which usually exonerates even the worst offenders!
Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS-You also don’t need to worry about how you would spend your retirement, IGP. If you play your cards correctly, obey all the orders that come your way and then resign when you are asked to without making much of a fuss, you can still become an ambassador and enjoy the sights and sounds of Brazil, for instance!

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