The Collins Dictionary defines ‘police’ as: "Organised
force in a state which keeps law and order."
So this has reference to the letter in defence of the
present IGP by a person no lesser than an ex-policeman
himself who is all at sea about the state of lawlessness
Among the many obfuscations contained therein this
ex-officer in rising up to defend the fellow cop has
ipso facto made it a hilarious situation. Of course,
in the past we had IGPs of the highest integrity such as
Stanley Senanayake, Rudra Rajasingham, Boudewyn and
But from the SWRD era not only the police but all
other forces have been reduced to ‘politicisation’ and
utter rot. Let me digress, to make my point on some
remarks made in that letter. Firstly, having so many
blazing incidences of police brutality the writer seems
to assert on the editorial as "this broad assertion even
without an iota of evidence" and it may result in
"serious repercussions on the morale of the force."
Funny isn’t it? ‘Morale’ means "a degree of confidence
or hope of a person or group." Is this the morale
displayed of a police force gone astray? Poor guys!
This is contradicted in the next para — "there is no
gainsaying that the police is infallible for in the
recent two months alone the public have witnessed a
litany of police atrocities and grave misdemeanours that
have damaged the police image and provoked public
outrage." And outlining the atrocity at Angulana as well
as a Senior Police Officer’s abduction of a child. Is
this alone not a damning indictment against the entire
police? A supposed organised force which keeps law and
Secondly, for a person who did not know the present
IGP or work under him how can the writer characterise
the IGP as: "he is a man of honour and proven
integrity"? Isn’t it imperative for persons who hold
high office to have dignity and decorum? This
contradicts the next statement which says "a commodity
sorely lacking at the high echelons of public office in
recent decades" — which is quite evident from the leader
to all ministers as well.
What significant role was enacted by the police
leading to the annihilation of terrorism? He definitely
is referring to the "Special Task Force" of the police
and not to the regular police , who maintained check
points around many towns and not as an ‘armed force’
facing and fighting the terrorists!
He was right on the money where he says "while the
three service commanders were rightfully and richly
rewarded for their efforts it was distressing to note
that the role and efforts of the IGP and his men were
eclipsed in the euphoria that took sleeping Sri Lanka by
storm" — thereby negating the victory parades and thanks
of the public.
The IGP and his ‘keystone cops’ should have been
brought to book for demeaning the valour of the other
armed forces victory over oppression. Never in the
history of police atrocities was an incident like the
one at Angulana ever witnessed — two young men paying
with their lives on the complaint of a ‘notorious’ woman
who had cut it good with the OIC of that station.
Now here comes the piece de resistance — some
revelations we all needed to know. "The first is the
fact that the IGP in successive terms of office has been
restrained due to outside pressure which lends to a
total breakdown of command and control and discipline"
and where does all this start? You guessed it right —
the Commander-in-Chief is the cause. He after assuming
office, completely disregarded the Constitution by not
appointing the Independent Commissions.
To make it lucid the writer goes on to point out an
example (of course, we all know of this particular
politico) in that readers would have construed the fact
of "just one instance of how the police are bullied into
submission by the boorish conduct of a politico with his
goons" by barging into a police station holding a
suspect and forcibly taking him away. What does the
chief do about it? Nothing!
The next revelation is "that the police have been
politicised to un-imaginable levels is manifest. Every
successive government is responsible for the prevailing
apathy of the police." Further it states that "despite
excellent DIG material available we have also seen a
fair share of square pegs in round holes who though
supposed to solve problems for the IGP, they create
them." The answer to this state of affairs is — "this
malady is again due to political patronage". A clear
case of pot calling the kettle black!
So as has been the practice "the impending
retirements of some DIGs and the IGP will also initiate
action to remove the deadwood and replace them with
dynamic men waiting in the wings." This is ideally the
method of "changing the pillow to ease the headache."
How different this land would be if the following
suggestion is forwarded to the President: "There is good
reason to want police and politicians to be separate.
One would not want politicians directing police in
operational affairs, for fear that one day, politicians
will use that power to direct police to act against
their opponent politicians. The task of the politician
is to dictate policy — period."
Too little, too late. The present leader is working
towards a ‘police state’ taking on unlimited powers just
like in North Korea where the "Dear Leader" is the very
soul of life. Statues, banners, posters are displayed
everywhere in the land to remind the people ‘he is the
leader and there is no other, as he does not tolerate
dissent in any form whatsoever.’
It follows... ‘love the leader or else." Going
further in this interesting diatribe the writer now
says: "The National Police Commission holds a
constitutional role, which includes supporting police.
However, this too is defunct and so we didn’t hear a
word of support from whoever is responsible for the
affairs of the police" — this is the understatement of
It is prudent for the writer instead of trying to
intimidate the media, to realise it is no longer a
Police Caravan but a Police Circus that is straining to
stifle not just the bark but the bite of the media.
Isn’t it ironic that the aphorism still rings true that
"birds of a feather...."