Costly military operations may have stopped because of the CFA, but yesterday we reported a police op had cost the public dearly. It is not a foray into the underworld or any other crime busting offensive. It was against the wayside election posters. The police have obtained fourteen million rupees for their anti poster op! They are likely to ask for more, our report says.
Election posters defacing roadside walls and even sign boards are a nuisance. They need to be removed in keeping with election laws. Other posters, too, should be given the same treatment. But that is a task for the local government authorities equipped with personnel and resources to carry it out. The CMC, apart from a massive workforce, has a poster-buster machine, which is known as Poster Maraya (killer of posters). Equipped with a high pressure water jet, it is capable of removing hundreds of posters within minutes. Those who have seen it at work say it is a pleasure to see grinning political faces torn to shreds and sent down gutters. Other local government bodies have the personnel to do that job.
It is puzzling why the police have taken upon themselves the task of removing posters at a massive cost to the state coffers. With that money some vehicles could have been purchased for the department. On the other hand, why should the police wait till posters are pasted to remove them? Why can`t they apprehend those who paste posters? They operate in public and it is not difficult to round them up.
Local government employees however are not without problems. Party politics and security threats often get in the way of carrying out their job. The police can move in such situations and help keep political thugs at bay.
Our report quoted a government official calling the expenditure on the police poster op `a criminal waste of funds.` Yes, he is right! One smells a rat.
It is imperative that a thorough probe be ordered into that waste of funds immediately.
Political thunder and lightning
The reaction of an ordinary Sri Lankan to a diabolical lie which he or she cannot counter is to beseech the Devas to cause lightning to strike the liar slap-bang in the mouth?katata hena gahanawa. All religions forbid lying and spell out the punishment that awaits the liars after death or in this life itself. But in a fast moving world, the people cannot wait so long to see liars suffer the consequences of their sins. Hence, their dependence on the Devas to punish liars, though we don`t know how many of their pleas have so far been answered.
In the time of kings, it is said, the liars had to undergo cruel punishment. If one was found lying to the king, one had one`s tongue cut off. Luckily for the present day politicians, this wicked practice doesn`t continue. Else, most of them would have ended tongue-less.
Elections are the times when the people solicit the services of the lightning-causing Devas more than ever to deal with those politicians who keep repeating the same old lies.
Prof. Chandima Gomes of the University of Colombo has brought some bad news for politicians. He warns that politicians who address public rallies in the open, irrespective of whether they lie or not, run the risk of being struck by lightning during this inter monsoonal season.
Prof. Gomes recommends that lightning prevention measures be adopted to protect the stages on which politicians thunder. He asks the public to maintain some distance from such devices and the stages with iron props and metal roofing, which are likely to attract lightning.
Lightning or no lightning, it is advisable for the people to always keep politicians at arm`s length. They have got too close to them as could be seen from their strong party affiliations which have blinded most of them to the real nature of their representatives.
Lightning arresters may help politicians during rainy weather. But what about the lie-induced lightning against which no physical devices are effective? The only way to ward off such danger is for politicians to heed the precept, Musawada Veramani Sikkapadan Samadiyami (I shall abstain from lying!) or the commandments `Thou shalt not lie!` or `Hell will be reserved for liars` and stop deceiving the public.