The Kalutara carnage (& geetha K)

Reader’s please watch (1.5 Minute Video) Karumakkarayo-fame Geetha K shedding crocodile tears about people being killed at the end of this editorial -TW

It appears that the term gun culture thuwakku sanskruthiya that was coined during the second JVP uprising in relation to the mindless killings that took place at the time via the then ubiquitous T56 could have relevance today too in this country, given the gruesome nature of the bloodletting we are witness to which has a resemblance to that which took place in the late eighties. Hardly a day passes without a killing in some corner of this country, a majority of which are contract killings either due to business rivalry or deep seated enmities. But surpassing all these are the gangland killings that takes place with regular monotony, with the use of the still handy T56.

Monday saw the most serious of these tit for tat killings where a prison bus was ambushed by a group said to belong to rival gang of one of the inmates who was being transported from the Kalutara Prison to the Kaduwela Magistrate’s court. It is the audacious nature of the attack, which, no doubt, would have shocked, not just the general public, but the law enforcement agencies as well. One recalls attacks of the nature that took place on Monday only in connection with bheeshanaya era where the armed wing of the JVP overran well guarded armouries, not to mention, attacks carried out on vital government installations.

In a well planned operation, carried out, with almost military precision, the armed gang ambushed the prison bus, their target – a rival gang leader. The prison bus is said to have come under a hail of T56 fire killing some of the inmates in the initial firing. The gang had then boarded the prison bus, dragged their target out on to the footboard and fired at him until he was pulp. A prison officer and a jailer too perished in the attack, after which, the assassins left in a getaway vehicle leaving behind the carnage, reminiscent of a blockbuster Hollywood gangster movie.

As usual the buck is sought to be passed. The Police spokesman says there are times when the police is called upon to provide escort to prison vans while at the same time saying that prison officers too have been provided with equal police training to meet with any contingency. However in this instance the prison officers were not equal to the task and, what is more, two of their men perished in the shooting while five others were injured, two of them critically. It is said that the prison officers too had fired at the attackers but that the gang fled.

This shows that they (prison officers) were not up to the challenge. It is not clear if the prison authorities had requested for police security in this instance. If not, it is indeed a glaring lapse, considering the nature of the mission. This is because the gang leader Samayang, in fact, was a high risk prisoner, on whose life an attempt was made earlier inside the same court premises.

This should have made the Kalutara Prison authorities seek police escort for the prison bus, particularly considering, the route which the vehicle was to take was through a jungle patch where the assailants had lain in wait. The Police, for its part, considering the risk involved, should have been more circumspect and deployed a police contingent to escort the Prison bus.

As usual, the police say it has deployed a number of teams to hunt down the killers and that some progress had already been made. The public will hope that the attackers will be eventually apprehended and brought before justice.

Monday’s incident is no doubt going to be a challenge to IGP Pujith Jayasundera who has vowed to confront the underworld when he took office one year ago. But during this time a series of killings have taken place, both, gangland killings and contract killings. The same day the Kalutara incident took place the owner of a Wine Stores in Kurunegala was gunned down, although the motive was said to be robbery.

The police, today, is without the burden of war duties, as before, and should concentrate all its energies to combat serious crime. True, it has made several breakthroughs in some of the more prominent cases and apprehended the perpetrators. But the crime rate keeps on mounting, and, if the Kalutara incident is anything to go by, dangerous criminals are still on the loose, posing a grave threat to society.

The IGP should, hence, take special measures to bring the situation under control. A hunt should be carried out for illegal firearms, because, from what is witnessed, a large number of T56 and other illegal firearms are still in circulation. According to reports, the firing at the prison bus had been a professional job and there can be little doubt that those with a good weapons training had been among the attackers. The presence of army deserters among the assassins, therefore, cannot be ruled out which could also be a pointer to the source of the T56 weapons used, all amnesties to recover such weapons notwithstanding.

Geetha sad about people being killed

(Daily Mirror)

Galle District Joint Opposition (JO) MP Geetha Kumarasinghe said today it was disheartening to see people being killed by underworld figures in the broad daylight.

She expressed these at a news conference organised by the JO Women Representatives over the upcoming World Women’s Day and Government’s negligence over the issues of women.

MP Kumarasinghe said that JO women political leaders would conduct a protest against several issues, which had occurred due to the failures of the Government.

Meanwhile, JO MP Pavithra Wanniarachchi said that they would hold a protest march on the International Women’s Day near the Lipton Roundabout in Colombo.

She said that women in the country had been oppressed due to the social and economical failures of the current Government.

“Women in the country had been oppressed with several social and economical issues and the current Government is responsible for these issues,” she said. (Yoshitha Perera)