SRI LANKA: The Regime’s Politics of Violence Implodes – triple murder and further violence leads to no arrest 

On the last day of the 3rd stage of the Local Government Election, two prominent politicians from United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) fought with each other at Mulleriyawa in Kolonnawa in Colombo District, according to reports. Former Member of Parliament and a presidential advisor on trade unions, Bharatha Lakshman Pramachandra, and three of his body guards, were shot dead on the orders of Duminda Silva, a Member of Parliament and advisor to the Ministry of Defence. Duminda Silva has survived after an emergency surgery by a team of doctors. He is now said to be being treated at an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

No one has yet been arrested for the three murders and the injuring of several others who are undergoing treatment at hospitals. There is no report as yet as to whether a case has been filed before the Magistrate’s court on the triple murder and the other incidents. Under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code police should file a report before the nearest Magistrate’s court as soon as possible when a serious crime has taken place in its vicinity. There is no report of any warrant issued for the arrest of Duminda Silva or any others regarding the triple murder.

This violent conflict between two prominent members of the ruling regime points to the type of politics prevailing in the country. Duminda Silva was before accused of a rape; however, the case was discontinued due to his political allegiance to Rajapaksha Regime. He is a rich businessman who is widely believed to be engaged in the illicit trafficking of drugs.

The emergence of such persons as prominent politicians on whom the regime depends on for their political campaigning indicates the extent of coercion and violence used during election campaigns and during elections. The government has refused to create an independent commission for the conduct of elections and in fact virtually abolished the provisions of 17th amendment to the Constitution. As a result, Sri Lanka does not have legal institutions which are capable of guaranteeing free and fair elections.

The regime believes in the use of extensive violence for all purposes including in conducting elections. The police are coopted to support this violence. The police lack the power and the capacity to resist the political influence. The police in Sri Lanka are no longer in an independence institution capable of enforcing law and order.

The present implosions like this among the hardcore elements supporting the regime are merely indications of the descent into the politics of coercion and violence. At the moment the Sri Lankan judiciary lacks the capacity to intervene against the regime’s politics of violence.

It is only the people’s own interventions against such violence that could restore rule of law and democracy in Sri Lanka. If, however, the present violence continues it is hardly possible to imagine the depths to which the country may descend.