Halt this alarming trend | Daily News

Halt this alarming trend

Not a single day passes without a murder or multiple killings being reported from some part of this country which is now increasingly becoming commonplace with the Police reduced to mere by standers. There had been 17 killings reported during the months of June and July alone and so far not a single arrest has been made. The latest killings took place in Kotahena and Ambalangoda. What is alarming is the casual nature in which the assailants pounce on their victims. They come on motorcycles, approach the target, open fire and nonchalantly ride away as shown on TV as captured on CCTV footage.

In the Kotahena incident the assassin merely walked up to the victim and shot him point blank with a pistol in front of a fairly large crowd who could only watch helplessly. In the Ambalangoda killing the assassin who rode on the pillion of the motorcycle simply alighted from the machine and casually walked into the house of the target and shot the man dead with a T56 automatic weapon. Not stopping at that, the killer, wearing a full face helmet, also shot some inmates of the house who came out of the premises. During the JVP terror days in the late eighties, similar to the present, a majority of the killings were carried out by motorcycle riders wearing full face helmets. This forced the Government to ban the helmet. Such a ban should be tried out in the present instance too if the impunity with which the killings take place is to be checked somewhat. If the Police so far have failed to identify let alone apprehend the killers all available methods should be tried out.

We say this because if the trend continues there is the possibility of killings taking place with monotonous regularity, and, what is more, with absolute impunity, with all would be assassins increasingly getting emboldened by the lack of Police action. In the melee there is also the possibility of innocent bystanders getting killed or injured.

Police Spokesman SSP Nihal Talduwa said that the deployment of Police personnel to maintain law and order at filling stations throughout the country has affected crime prevention. This indeed is a very flimsy excuse considering that there are over 80,000 Policemen in the Force. In any event, crime prevention should be the number one priority of the Police. It is time that the Police refocus itself on its primary duty- that of protecting the community from harm at the hands of rampaging killers. It is indeed baffling to contemplate that the whereabouts of even a single suspect had escaped the country's premier law enforcement agency while those who entered premises of the President's house and Temple Trees are being taken in with super efficiency. How come the Police who are busy taking fingerprints of those who invaded the President's House missed any fingerprints of the assassins at the scene of the crime? Surely there would have been some evidence left behind by the killers that the Police could follow through.

The stock explanation of the Police is that the killings are the result of gang rivalry or confrontations related to the narcotics trade. However, according to what the public were told by top sleuths, sometime ago, the drugs business was almost eliminated with the arrest of a major kingpin who operated from abroad. But from what we gather from the Police statements is that the drug business is still very much alive and kicking and what is more even some Police officers are allegedly in the thick with members of drug trade (top Narcotic Bureau sleuths were arrested sometime ago for working hand in glove with drug kingpins).

Law and Order Minister Tiran Alles should direct the IGP to get his men to concentrate in halting the present killing spree in the country to the exclusion of everything else. For what we are witnessing is an extremely dangerous trend. We pride ourselves in being a Buddhist country and the radio and television commence the day with Bana preaching and injunctions against harming even an ant. But the picture is different out there in the open with no value attached to human lives. The Police should be made to hunt down all those responsible for the recent spate of killings. Just palming off all killings to drug rivalry simply won’t do. The danger here is that Police inaction to apprehend the killers may even embolden others with a criminal bent to take advantage of this apathy on the part of the law enforcement and commence terrorizing the innocent public. Such a trend is increasingly being witnessed now given the economic hardships afflicting the people, opening avenues for theft and plunder by criminals. A climate is gradually being created for lawlessness to thrive. The Police should get active in ensuring that the situation does not get out of hand.

The Police Service as a whole also needs modernizing, upgrading and special training for its personnel to handle today's multiple challenges. We say this because today crime has assumed new and extraordinary dimensions with the involvement of the drug element and an underworld equipped with sophisticated weapons. The men in khaki too should be provided with all the incentives to make them keen on the job and go that extra mile to deal with high risk situations. It is only a happy and contented Police officer who will give his heart and soul to the job of policing. 

Add new comment