No one should be allowed’ to take the law into their own hands


The following is a Special Press Communiqué by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and Most Ven. Ittapane Dhammalankara Anunayake Thero:

It is not a secret that since the 1970’s s Governments, political parties, terror groups that took to arms, etc., dealt with persons who were of a different thinking and view point by abducting and making them disappear. And at times, the dead bodies of such persons were openly exhibited in public places too. In the 80’s and 90’s this took a more serious turn. Even persons of differing political orientations or leaders of the underworld were made to disappear or eliminated in the process.

To these crimes could also be added those victims of the Sinhala or Tamil terrorist groups. It has to be accepted that there have been in general no proper inquiries conducted into some of these political assassinations. Among those that were eliminated in this manner one could count different Tamil and Sinhala politicians. No Proper investigation had been conducted into these crimes and those responsible adequately brought to justice. Of late too we have been learning of abductions and disappearances of persons of the underworld who are no doubt a problem to the custodians of the law. Yet, no one should be allowed’ to take the law into their own hands. At times it is known that the threat of abduction seems to be directed also at people of differing political views. Such abductions and disappearances are caused also because of competition and hatred among rival underworld gangs.

Making a person disappear simply because he holds a different political view or is a gangster cannot be condoned in a democracy. Every such enforced disappearance of a person is an abuse of human dignity. No religious system would accept it. If a person has gone against the law of the land, he/she must be dealt with through the police or courts and any alternative course of action in such cases is unjust. Yet, today there seems to be people who think that such an alternative course of action is justifiable. This is a very serious situation.

These abductions and disappearances are not at all in keeping with our country’s religious ethos. The environment of mayhem that began in the 1970’s has aggravated so much to date, that some tend to think that such a practice is necessary in order to overcome it. Yet, it is clear that law and order in human society have to be maintained through principles of justice and fair play only. It is not in keeping with human dignity to act contrary to the above. We cannot accept such thinking at all. Therefore we call upon all those responsible and the general citizenry to ensure that such abductions and disappearances are stopped forthwith.

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