|Polls violence -
Pot calling kettle black!
Rajith C. Dissanayake writing in this column on June 7 says that: "The vast majority of the people are deeply saddened by the recent statements and utterances of the President, PA stalwarts, etc. about recently concluded historic local government elections". The writer should cry his heart out on what the independent election observers PAFFREL and MFFE had to say about the historic LG elections: As in previous elections, there were some areas in which elections were marred by serious infringements of electoral laws intimidation and violence. The grave violations included serious assault, stuffing of ballot boxes, intimidation of voters and chasing away of registered polling agents. Despite pledges to usher in a new political culture, the new government has not been effective in making a clean break with the past. (The Island, 22 May).
The writer seems to infer that, what you fellows did in the past, we can do it better. Not the good things, of course, but the bad and ugly. Isnt it to see a new breakthrough from the unsavoury past that the people voted the new government into power?
It was reported in the media that soon after the victory in Dec. 2001 general elections, UNP supporters went on the rampage to destroy dwellings and properties of PA supporters in most parts of the country. The worst affected areas were, Anuradhapura, Puttalam, Chilaw, Matale, Kuliyapitiya, Kurunegala, Kegalle, Negombo, Nawalapitiya, Gampola, Laggala, Hanguranketha, Rambukkana, Ingiriya, Hataraliyadda, Gampaha, Galle where thousands of party supporters had to take refuge in houses of PA parliamentarians when their houses were attacked by UNP supporters and the police failed to provide protection.
The Police did not step outside their police stations when killings, bombings, assaults, arson on PA supporters were taking place. Police officers in our highly politicized Police Department had been even encouraging these assaults, Dec. 30 2001 Sunday Times wrote titling the article, Massive destruction in the hills. The writer tries to highlight Wayamba incidents of the past which pale into insignificance in the light of this island wide campaign of terror and mayhem unleashed by UNP hooligans.
Speaking after paying homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic at Sri Dalada Maligawa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had pledged to usher in a reign of justice in accordance with the tenets of Buddhism (Daily News 3-1-2002). But the new government had not been effective in making a break with the past as pointed out by election monitors, evidently referring to past incidents of violence unleashed after UNP victories in 1977, 1989 and Dec. 2001 elections.
When in the opposition, the UNP cried hoarse going in padayathras demanding independent election, police, judiciary and public services commissions. But today we are nowhere nearer these attainable goals. Meanwhile, crimes and multiple homicides have soared to unprecedented scale on top of election law floutings and police excesses. People expected much to happen during the much publicized 100 days programme of the new government. But all what the people got were perpetual power cuts, spiralling price hikes on rice, coconuts and host of essential items, increased fuel, gas, electricity, water, telephone, postal rates charges heaping burdens on the masses.
While people are being hit hard below the belt, the reported move to appoint defeated candidates as consultants to government ministries with salaries of Rs. 22000 per month with other perks and allowances is political chicanery, comments June 8, The Island Editorial.
Obviously, our writer has no virtues to speak of the new government apart from saying, misdeed are fully investigated by fairly independent Police service hence his vituperative harangue on past PA regime.
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