Mr. Velupillai Prabhakaran and his partners in crime are resting in peace but the general public is without peace of mind owing to disproportionate security provided to petty politicians. Nobody will dispute that key political leaders and the defence top brass are still targets and therefore need to be protected at any cost.
But, it is the lesser minions with massive egos to nurse by parading huge security contingents who have become a nuisance. They and their security morons in escort vehicle plying at break-neck speed shoving the ordinary road users into wayside drains seem to derive some sadistic pleasure by wreaking havoc on public roads and making people suffer. There is an urgent need for a fresh threat assessment and scaling down security for politicians where necessary.
While politicians are being protected thus, those who really deserve security are denied it. Yesterday, we reported that High Court Judge Deepali Wijesundera had not been provided with adequate security on her way to Court to deliver the judgment in the Tissanayagam case. The police sent her an escort only after she had registered strong protest with some police high rankers. The stock excuse she was given was that the motorcycle used by security personnel had broken down!
So, in this country where every political nincompoop has several backup vehicles, the police cannot protect a learned judge handling a high profile case for want of a motorcycle! Where resources are concerned, the police seem to be in a far worse situation than even a wayside private security outfit!
Judges have a good reason to fear for their safety. Criminals have demonstrated their ability to strike anywhere. They are no respecters of the judiciary. They gunned down High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya outside his residence in 2004. A female judge had a narrow escape from an assailant inside her official residence in the Southern Province a few years ago.
The assassination of Judge Ambepitiya, who meted out deterrent punishment to criminals, jolted the government into enhancing judges` security. However, it is doubtful whether the seemingly ridiculous security methods the police have adopted are adequate to ensure judges` safety. Two security officers armed with assault rifles on a motorcycle trailing a judge`s car are only sitting ducks vis- -vis underworld killing machines and well trained terrorists. Better security measures to protect judges are called for!
Former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva did not believe in security. A religious person, his motto seemed to be: Dhammo have rakkathi dhammachari (He who lives according to dhamma is protected by dhamma.) Luck was obviously on his side and he was safe. The LTTE was zeroing in on government leaders and the defence top brass in charge of the prosecution of war and wary of ruining its international image by settling for other targets like judicial officers.
In a world where even the Buddha was not free from attempts on his life Jesus was crucified and Mahatma Gandhi shot dead, the question is whether it is wise to entrust one`s security to supernatural forces entirely.
At a time the underworld has come under a sustained attack with homicidal maniacs at large, blinded by hatred and prepared to go to any extent to either protect themselves or take revenge, there is a pressing need for providing better security for judges, especially those hearing high profile cases.
Criminals are not given to rational thinking and do not give a damn about the consequences of their action. That exactly is the reason why they are what they are! They will not spare anyone they may consider a threat to them. Kudu Nauffer had Judge Ambepitiya eliminated in retaliation for not being lenient on drug dealers including himself and other criminals hauled up before High Court.
Enough resources, both human and physical, must be allocated for the protection of judicial officers who really deserve enhanced security.
Let no lame excuses be trotted out!