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Increase in underworld activities in Sri Lanka

The recent events show an unpleasant increase in underworld activities. In some cases Buddhist monks are involved. 

Under the Mahinda regime ruling party politicians were considered to be above the law and were suspected for underworld connections. In one case, a British national was killed and his Russian girlfriend was sexually abused in public by a group led by a local politician, even the British royal family had to intervene to push the Mahinda regime to arrest the suspects and after one year the long arm of the law reached the culprits. Now the ruling party politicians are being arrested, not for underworld activities, but for taking the law into their hands to settle violent disputes as in the case involving the Colombo District UNP Parliamentarian Hirunika Premachandra.

However, when it comes to the Police there seem to be delays because it took more than five days for the Police to carry out the order issued by the Embilipitiya Magistrate to arrest an ASP, an OIC and several other Police Officers, in connection with the death of a youth during a clash with the Police in Embilipitiya. 

Then the question arises whether the Police are working with an under-world organization, because the Police have not given any reason for not following the Magistrate's order immediately. If the suspects were not connected to such latent power then they would have used even minimum force to apprehend them if there was any protest. There are very important things to discuss. One main matter to ponder on is the public image of the Police; that it is independent of political power and underworld pressure. When one says political influence one has to take political terror of oppositional
politicians too!

Recently we saw several incidents in respect of contempt of Court involving oppositional political terror. The General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena, Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera and several other monks were remanded, for their alleged unruly behaviour within and outside the Homagama Magistrate's Court. Like in that instance, the law enforcement agencies should act diligently and apprehend those responsible without delay. Instead some media reported with the introduction of a heroic picture for the culprits. After that event the Sinha-Le movement came out with much vigour. In fact, the creatively designed Sinha-Le logo started appearing on vehicles since late November last year. Though many began to wonder about this newly emerging possibly ultra-nationalistic movement, it had no attraction plus or minus. After the Homagama incident, most importantly the minorities started worrying.

The democratic revolution
After the democratic revolution, minorities were enjoying assuming racism will be curbed following the end of the Mahinda regime. There was a period where it appeared that racism had come to an end. In fact, the emergence of Sinha-Le (Lion Blood) took place, as far back as 2010 when a primarily designed website appeared on internet, but with less or no attention. We were told that the owner-designer of the website was from Kurunegala, but was trying hard to get the branding popular among the Sinhala Buddhist populace, with no success.

The competition for Sinhala chauvinist leadership within the Sinhala Buddhist community during that time was a bit high, mainly as it was just after the defeat of the LTTE. One writer said: "The vociferous Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) was gaining momentum under the 'unsung' State patronage; thus new movements like Sinha-Le were not picking up, even within the cyber space. Though repeatedly denied, BBS had an undeclared honeymoon with the then Mahinda regime. At least the mere silence by the State when non-Buddhist establishments – predominantly of Muslims were attacked in several cities of the country was a clear sign of this undisclosed marriage. No arrests were made, no action taken against these unlawful acts of the BBS. In contrast the social media was full of pictures of the BBS leadership with the former Defence Secretary and the movement had a free hand to do anything, as it wished."

The problem is that such organizations still have power to frighten not only the media, but also the Police in certain areas. However, the independence of Police from such terror is very essential in maintaining law and order in the country. The Police are an inseparable apparatus in safeguarding democracy. In a bourgeoise democracy, we are told that, the people do not have anyone to turn to other than the police in times of emergency and disaster. Therefore, the public image of the Police is essential in maintaining law and order in such a democracy. If there is a situation where people do not respect the Police and do not accept it is independent, it would be very difficult for the Police to carry out their duty.