5th Column

Leaving political stones unturned

5th Column

My Dear Rishad,

I never thought I would be writing to you, but I think I must do so now, especially as you are in the news for allegedly telephoning a judge and threatening him after which your supporters apparently threw stones at the courthouse.
I must say, Rishad, that it was an excellent advertising campaign. A few weeks ago, if we asked anyone about you, they would have said, “Rishad who?” Now you are making headlines in all the newspapers and television channels and they are filing cases against you!

I don’t think you should worry too much about this, Rishad, although they have promised a “full” inquiry. Such inquiries were held against a host of other ministers and MPs but I cannot recall anyone coming to grief so far!

Why, Mervyn is alleged to have threatened a Samurdhi Officer, Keheliya is alleged to have intimidated the principal of his son’s school and even senior ministers like Athauda were recently released on bail for allegedly damaging property, so why should you worry?

And I cannot also understand why everyone is so upset about all this. After all, this is not the first time that “people” have thrown stones at judges. If I remember correctly, during JR’s days, they did it against Supreme Court judges and this time, it was only against a magistrate!

And surely, by now people have realised that MR is keen to emulate JR because he has got as much power as JR did in his heyday. So what is wrong with one or two of his ministers, trying to emulate what JR’s ministers did during his time?

I heard that Mahinda maama had said that he was “disappointed” that this incident occurred and I can understand that. Why, he must have felt that your talents could have been better used, especially with elections to three provincial council on the cards!

And anyway, why should anyone get so upset about a couple of telephone calls and a few stones being thrown here and there? Surely, there are more important things in this country of ours that we should be worried about?
Why, Rishad, shouldn’t we have something more interesting to talk about-like dengue mosquitoes, Z scores, the crime wave and power cuts, for instance?

And all they can do is talk about these couple of telephone calls made by you! As far as I can see, you are only enjoying the new found liberty and freedom that did not exist in this country for thirty years because of terrorism. Ah, in the days when terrorists roamed the North and East, you wouldn’t have dared to set foot in Mannar, would you?

But now that the government that you are so proudly part of has rid the country of terrorism, you are merely trying to indulge in exercising your right of freedom of expression and it is a pity that others cannot appreciate that!
They should realise that it was this government that rid the country of terrorism and that in return, the government and its MPs must be allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want for a few dozen years. That is how those of you in the ruling party feel, isn’t it?

I blame the media too for making such a fuss about this. For more than two years they had their hands full with the General making a court appearance every now and then and saying something and that was sufficient to keep them happy.
Now that the General is free, all these media people have nothing to talk about, so they latch on to an innocent telephone call you apparently made. But don’t worry, Rishad, I’m sure you will be safe, even though some may have filed contempt of court charges against you.

I think you should protest as well, Rishad. Surely, the charge of threatening a judge should not be heard by another judge because judges will be biased towards their own kind. It would seem like ‘naduth hamuduruwange, baduth hamuduruwange’, wouldn’t it?

Since justice should not only be done but it should also appear to be done, what they should do is to get the SLFP Central Committee to hear your case instead. Now, that is a very enlightened and compassionate institution, and I’m sure they will give you a fair trial.

If you go before them, you could cite the precedent of Mervyn tying an official to a tree and getting away with it without even a reprimand-and then there is no way they could punish you for making a mere telephone call!
In a worst case scenario, Rishad, you should ask Mahinda maama to appoint you as Minister of Justice. Then, no one can harm you. After all, that wouldn’t be half as bad as appointing “Dr.” Mervyn to negotiate with the university academics who are on strike, would it?

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS-If all else fails and you are likely to be convicted for contempt of court, Rishad, you should try what is now known in legal circles as the ‘Duminda defence’. It is very simple: all you have to say is that you can’t remember anything about the incident and that when you eventually woke up, you were in your Ministry in Colombo and that you know nothing about a judge, making telephone calls, or throwing stones! And mark my words, they are sure to acquit you!

Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

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