The Sri Lankan ruling party is famous for turning a blind eye to issues it does not want to deal with, which is perhaps why it stumbles from blunder to blunder concerning Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva. In the latest allegations, this time for murder, Silva is a key suspect but continues to remain unscathed, without even the Police questioning him over the death of UPFA Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha Member Hasitha Madawala.
For many seasons Silva had been batting away without any issues, but as the offences piled up, fellow politicians in his own party banded against him and handed over a file containing a myriad of his transgressions to the party leadership in April 2012. But nothing was done.
As public disgust grew, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has gone on record pledging to clean up Kelaniya and it is high time that such words translate into action. Much of the ire against the Government for letting politicians operate in an environment of immunity will reduce if Silva is brought to book. Yet this can only be a big step to bringing credibility to politicians.
From tying public officials to trees to repeated and recorded instances of aggression against the media, Silva’s sins have been many and frequent. Yet, against all rational explanations, the powers that be continue to shield him even when his own party members have said enough is enough. What is the reason behind this?
Analysing all of the reasons would take far more space that has been provided to this column. Therefore, the whole issue can be put down to breakdown of law and order. It is perhaps a simplistic point, but one that explains the ridiculous amount of power that people like Silva hold. His opponents also point to the same reason, saying that intense politicisation of the Police means that Silva can operate with impunity and anyone else will be served with death threats if they dare to oppose him.
This is a damning indictment of the breakdown of law and order in this country. Politicians are above the law and prefer to remain that way until the situation worsens to the point that they themselves are under threat. It is only then that they speak out against offenders and demand justice, but at this point the institutions of justice such as the Police and law courts have all been undermined. If the rich and powerful are impotent, then what hope does the common man have?
Yet, one thing that all the players of this saga have to be aware of is that the people are watching and this will be one more situation that will add to their disgust of how the Government operates. It is also an indication that if the Government does not take steps to instil discipline in its own ranks, it has little hope for the rest of the country.
Since Silva is great at providing the people with entertainment, it is likely that they will simply sit back and watch the events unfold, but hopefully when the next election rolls around, they will take more proactive action to promote justice and law enforcement. When will the fair and right-minded people of Sri Lanka see the last of politicians like Silva?