Home » News

The Murder Of A Nation

[The Sunday Leader.lk, Sunday, 23 October 2011 09:14 No Comment]

If the law enforcement authorities take a back seat in enforcing the law it spells the end of a struggling democracy. Whom can the people go to, and what can the people do? The more disturbing question is: what will they do?

“How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?

How many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry?

How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?…”

Blowin’ in the Wind, Bob Dylan

The life of a nation depends on its governance and the life of the governance depends on its People. The will and spirit of a People can never be subdued for prolonged periods of time either by cajoling or coercion. The human spirit yearns for freedom from captivity, be it physical, intellectual or otherwise.

Political Power is a much misunderstood concept. Power in the ultimate terms of a political situation, is the confidence that the People have in the representative of their power – which comprises the power of the representative – which is in fact the power of the People, and, with the loss of that confidence the power of the representative begins to wane and the waves of discontent begin to spread across the nation. This discontent can never be contained by coercion because within the human spirit there always resides that spark of rebellion against enforced measures of curtailment of legitimate freedoms.

Power in the sense of enforcement cannot be maintained for prolonged periods of time because enforcement of power itself is never self contained but is dependent on other entities for its existence. As such, similar to a chain, power is as strong as its weakest link – its enforcers: and the moment the enforcers abandon post, all power is gone. Political power is the most dependent of all human frailties.

Politics is not a circus. Political elements must realize that they are carving the destiny of a nation and not their own. The gunfight at the OK Corral in the 1800’s where the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday shot up and killed all their opposition on a personal vendetta may have been good at that time in the wild West where the law was gun law for the settlement of personal disputes. But it certainly does not hold good here.

Throughout history most nations have had and will have their periods of war and periods of peace and times of reconciliation. As victors of war the victors always move forward with aggression and confidence but victory lies in the nation and not in an individual or a group of individuals and the spoils of victory in war do not include the right to kill.

An unlawful assembly comprises five or more people with an illegal objective. Every person who joins or remains in an unlawful assembly with knowledge of the illegal objective is deemed a member of that unlawful assembly and is guilty of any criminal act caused by any member of the assembly if the commission of that criminal act was known to be likely in the prosecution of the objective. A lawful assembly becomes unlawful the moment an illegal object is formed. In a case of homicide it is irrelevant as to who fired the fatal shots: every person who joined or remained or formed the unlawful assembly at the time the death was caused, knowing that death was likely to be caused in the altercation is prima facie liable for the causing of that death – be it murder or anything else. If the circumstances show that the causing of death was instigated or intentional then it becomes murder in the absence of an acceptable defence.

Where there is evidence that any person is involved in a murder and such person’s whereabouts are known, such person will as soon as possible be taken into custody by the police and produced before a Magistrate and committed to remand custody. If such person is hospitalized then he will be formally taken into custody by the police at the hospital, and, on the motion of the police, the Magistrate will commit such person to remand custody and remand guards will be placed at the hospital. This is the law of the land.

There are whispers in many quarters and open declarations in others that this procedure is not being followed in certain political cases.  The law enforcement authorities will do well to take steps to enforce the law which is their mandate, irrespective of the political colour of the case. If not, at the end of the day, at some point of time, they will all be held accountable to the people, by the people – by the Nation – and the price will likely be heavy.

I remember an incident where I was returning from Bolgoda along the Madapatha Road from San Michele in the night. The road had no street lamps and suddenly a push cyclist appeared in front of me and started blocking my passage. I kept trying to pass him but he kept on obstructing me and then I realized that he had no lights on his cycle and he was using mine to navigate. We came to an angle on the road and beyond the angle was the marsh and as we approached it I switched off the lights for a few seconds. When I switched them on again the cyclist was not there. I have repeated this to every batch of apprentices that came to my Chamber – the moral of the story being that if you get ahead on the lights of others, you will fall when they are switched off, as will inevitably happen to indentured bureaucracies in the event of a power failure.

The fate of a nation may sometimes hang on the aftermath of the death of one man, unjustly killed, if legal retribution does not follow swiftly. In terms of politics the people’s attention dwells on current affairs and not in the past and as was said long ago, “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is often interred with their bones” (Julius Caesar, Shakespeare).

[Full Coverage]

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow TNN on Facebook, Twitter and Google+)

Comments are closed.