Deputy Minister Mervyn Silva`s son Malaka Silva and two others, who assaulted a group of Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) officers in a Colombo night club last year, were ordered by the Colombo High Court on Thursday to pay compensation of Rs. 10,000 each and enter into a bond in Rs. 10,000 each to be of good behaviour for one year. The compensation was channelled to the Police Rewards Fund.
Had George Orwell been among the living, he would have written a sequel to his legendary Animal Farm, on this blessed land where political asses and their asinine sons have become `more equal than others.` What would have happened to the son of a lesser person, if he had dared touch, let alone assault, a member of the khaki brigade? He would have been reduced to mince meat before he could say Jack Robinson. If he had absconded, his entire family would have been dragged to the nearest police station and bastinadoed until he surrendered. The situation would have been far worse if he had possessed an illegal firearm. He would have been remanded for a month of Sundays. Even a poor chena cultivator who keeps a galkatas (improvised gun) to drive wild beasts away is rounded up, beaten and hauled up before court to be remanded for months, with his family starving.
Blessed are the politicos and their progeny in this land. Malaka, the son of a political reject?his father rejected by the people of Colombo at the last General Election was brought to Parliament via the National List and made a deputy minister!?and his bodyguards were granted police bail while the police officers whom they had set upon were still nursing their bleeding noses!
During the UNF government, the then Minister Mahinda Wijesekera, when his son, accompanied by his armed bodyguards, got involved in a drunken brawl at a five star hotel, had the gumption to say, `Boys will be boys!` Any intelligent human being would have said, `Assess will be asses!` What else would the sons of such fathers turn out to be?
The PNB is a dedicated and efficient outfit. As we have mentioned umpteen times in these columns, its sleuths are battling the drug Mafia against tremendous odds. Collusion of some police bigwigs and prominent politicians with drug kingpins is only too well known. Investigations into the biggest drug haul detected in Colombo a few years ago revealed that a VVIP had visited the drug baron concerned at his residence, accompanied by a deputy minister (before President Rajapakse took over the reins of government). Former IGP T. Anandaraja made a costly blunder by attending a party thrown by a notorious drug dealer in a Colombo hotel! He said he was not aware of his host`s identity! (Our expose cost him an extension in service!) It was only the other day that an efficient drug buster, IP Douglas Nimal and his wife were brutally killed in a Colombo suburb. Today his children are today orphans. That is the price brave policemen have to pay for their efficiency and dedication! Officers handling cases against drug Czars are transferred out so that investigations could be interfered with easily. Narcotics sent for analysis come back as wheat flour! The PNB is experiencing a dearth of personnel and other resources. Atop those difficulties and threats, come assault and intimidation by ministerial brats! That their morale has suffered a huge blow goes without saying.
President Mahinda Rajapakse in his inaugural address promised a narcotics-free Sri Lanka within one year. Such a noble mission requires the strengthening of the PNB with more resources and teeth. Most of all, an environment must be created for the police to work without fear or favour with politicians and their sons reined in. How can a bunch of politicians who cannot bring up their sons properly be entrusted with nation building?
The PNB team roughed up by Mervyn Silva`s son was on the trail of a supplier of Ecstasy, a drug popular among the children of the affluent patronising night clubs. What made him react so violently to the police raid, which the other youth didn`t resist? This question has gone unanswered. Solutions to big problems often lie in seemingly innocent unanswered questions. Will the police take the cue?
We will be making a terrible mistake if we let the ministerial brats run away with the idea that all it takes to assault the police and get away with it is only a fistful of rupees.