SRI LANKA: Enjoying Revenge 

Basil Fernando


Two cabinet ministers laughed in public about the police assault of two opposition Members of Parliament at the Galle police station. They added to their laughter by adding to the story, saying that nothing else is to be expected when anyone tries to assault police officers inside a police station. That was a twist to their merriment. The two ministers were also showing that truth is whatever they say it is. Truth was unimportant. They also referred to JVP’s past, saying they have done this kind of thing in the past. Ha, Ha, Ha.

If a Tory MP was assaulted, by some strange chance, the reaction of the Labor government (or vice versa) would be very different. There would have been an expression of horror and immediately there would have been action against the police officers through a high level inquiry. The political coloring of the victim MPS would have been irrelevant. The status of the Members of the Parliament would have been the primary consideration. All attempts would been taken to assure the public that such things are not taken lightly.

The least that the two ministers could have done before they opened their mouth on the incident was call for an inquiry and to wait for the report. That way they could have kept their own dignity and helped to preserve the dignity of the position of the members of parliament.

Such merriment as expressed by the two ministers is no exception to the general norm in Sri Lanka. There is jubilation in many quarters and at highest levels about the decision to remove the four stars from Sarath Fonseka. There is sheer joy in teaching ‘A LESSON TO THE FORMER COMMANDER OF THE ARMY.’ This merriment will not go away soon. There will be more and more actions against him and the joke will be enjoyed for very many years.

While the wife of Prageeth Eknaligoda is offering Yathikas at the Kali Amma Kovil at Mutuwal, there is a lot jubilation and laughter from those who are behind this disappearance. Have whatever Yathika you like; we have done what we wanted to. Not finger is moved to start any investigation. Now, Sarath Fonseka’s wife has joined in such prayers. All that adds to the merriment of those who enjoy the acts of their power.

The same type of merriment of was orchestrated on the streets when Prabakaran was killed. There was eating of kiribath in the streets. It is similar kind of “joy” that goes on still.

Two incidents reported recently demonstrate psychopathology of this kind of revengeful joy. One incident was reported from Nivithigala, Ratnapura. A man who was travelling for a wedding with his whole family had his head severed from the body by an enemy who used the situation to take his revenge. A few weeks back a case was reported from Eppawela where a young nephew living with a family killed his uncle, aunt and two cousins to take revenge for some grievance.

It is similar type of enjoyment of revenge that we are witnessing in the political scene. More of such things seem to on the way. If the logic of this psychology has more persons disappearing like Prageeth Ekneligoda, it would no surprise. JVP MPS in particular may become targets of worse things than police assaults.

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Document Type : Article
Document ID : AHRC-ART-084-2010
Countries : Sri Lanka,