Fighting the scourge of narcotics still remains an uphill task despite the government s much advertised Mathata Thitha programme to rid the country of drugs. Links between politicians and drug barons are far from severed and even the police, we reckon, are not geared to achieve that ambitious yet noble goal.
The police drug busters who function as a tooth battalion in war against narcotics continue to get a raw deal from their departmental bosses and politicians. It looks as though there were a sinister move to demoralise them systematically so that the Mathata Thitha will come a cropper with the passage of time.
All it takes to destroy a nation s future is a handful of highly connected drug dealers enjoying freedom to be above the law. This country has many such monsters hobnobbing with politicians and a few years ago one of them had an IGP as a special guest at one of his five star parties! Another notorious drug dealer was sighted among a gang of ministerial goons who set upon a Rupavahini worker a few months ago triggering a tumult.
Instead of praise and reward, what drug busters get in return for their daring operations is harassment at the hands of their bosses. Recently it was reported that a sub inspector attached to the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) had been transferred allegedly for carrying out his duty efficiently. IGP Victor Perera has promptly dismissed that allegation. He says the SI concerned had been given a punishment transfer to the Kalutara Police Training School but his appeal for a transfer to a Colombo station had been considered favourably on humanitarian grounds. We are intrigued! How come someone who deserves punishment is sent to the Police School? And why on earth should the department consider the appeal of anyone on punishment transfer? There is no way an SI could dispute what an IGP says. However, let the benefit of doubt accrue to IGP Perera.
We only hope that the IGP will have the same high octane performance where the probe into the killing of narcotics sleuth Douglas Nimal and his wife is concerned. Chief Inspector Nimal was one of the officers who had proved their mettle in combating organised drug rackets. He had been instrumental in several crackdowns on drug dens and many high profile arrests. As is the fate of any efficient cop, he became a victim of a vilification campaign. He was arrested on trumped-up charges. But later he was cleared of all of them. Unable to stop him and fearing that he would expose them, his enemies decided to physically eliminate him.
In 2006, they targeted him and his wife while they were travelling in a van in a Colombo suburb. Both were brutally murdered and their two children orphaned. An investigation was launched and the police bigwigs made a great deal of noise about their desire to bring the killers to justice. But, we expressed scepticism in these columns as we knew the police had more to hide than reveal. The probe would have opened a can of worms for some of his superiors and their unholy chums in the world of crime.
Nimal, a onetime battle hardened STF officer, had this to tell The Island two weeks before his and tragic end: `When you battle the Tigers, you know who your real enemies are. But, in Colombo, it is impossible to know your enemy from your friend.` What an indictment of the police!
The killngs at issue may have been committed when the police were under a different chief, but IGP Perera ought to tell the public what has become of the probe.
He and his department owe an explanation to the children of Douglas Nimal.