Deterrent punishment to vandalism is a categorical imperative

Tuesday, 1 January 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Zulkifli Nazim

We read the dismal, heart-breaking and saddening news that several Buddha statues had been damaged in Mawanella over the past few days.

We all stand witness to the mindless devastation of human values and principles of Buddhism – the sacred teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the Most Revered Buddha, by a group of idiosyncratic elements and scum of the earth, where political power is used to mobilise religious sensibilities of people in order to get their support to capture power; and use it to fulfill their aims. 

They use intrigue, engineer a crafty plot and orchestrate such immoral, malicious and deviant ways to achieve their sinister ends in order to attempt to win public opinion.

Before proceeding any further, I would like to first lay emphasis on the fact that all those who are involved, irrespective of who they are, what ethnicity they belong to, what political affiliations they may have – they have to be taken to task and very severe and punitive punishments meted out.  The punishments must be so severe, it should serve as a deterrent to others, who are even contemplating an ethnic disturbance or riot.

The cry of the people of Sri Lanka was that when the recent appointment of cabinet ministers were sent for approval to the President Maithripala Sirisena, he wilfully and wantonly, without any just foundation or provocation, struck off the name of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka from the position of Law and Order.

If this position has been awarded to him this type of vandalism, hooliganism and deliberate destruction of the revered Buddha statues, defacement and damage of public as well as other people’s property could certainly have been arrested. 

We all know how five Podujana Peramuna Pradeshiya Sabha members and Leader of Mahason Balakaya Amith Weerasinghe were among others arrested in connection with the violence orchestrated and perpetrated mainly in Digana and Ampara. 

No sooner Mahinda Rajapaksa  was appointed  as Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena, unconstitutionally and illegally, the first thing they did was to manipulate the release of the three suspects, including Mahason Balakaya Leader Amith Weerasinghe, held in remand custody in connection with the disturbances created in Digana, Rangala, Udispattuwa and Moragahamula on 4 and 5 March.

It is also worthy of note that News First carried a headline on 1 December: ‘Protest in Digana calling for election’

“News1st: A protest was held in the Manikhinna, Digana with several members of the UPFA and the SLPP along with Parliamentarian Keheliya Rambukwella.

The protestors called for an immediate election to be held.” 

This is more than enough evidence that the whole thing has been orchestrated by these wily and cunning, deceitful and unreliable scoundrels to exacerbate an ethnic conflict.

If such disasters have to occur after the denial of appointing Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka to that most important position of Law and Order, then it can be irrefutably concluded that political power has had a vicious hand in it.

Perhaps more than at any time in our history, our beloved country has been forced to engage in senseless conflict, when the country is facing natural disasters as well as the disaster created by the country by our President himself by not even placing his signature on the Government Gazette, to mobilise the appointed cabinet of ministers to do their allotted work for the security and benefit of the country. 

He, the President, Maithripala Sirisena, left for Thailand, totally unconcerned, leaving behind a more dangerous, a country more divided, and more toxic.