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Terrorism isn't dead in Sri Lanka

Publication Date : 10-12-2013

 

The Sri Lankan government never misses any opportunity to boast that it defeated Tiger terrorism. It, no doubt, deserves the credit for that feat which, many thought, was unattainable. The war is a thing of the past. But, terrorism is far from dead.

The crime rate remains alarmingly high and there is nary a house that hasn’t been burgled. Hardly a day passes without several, if not many, rapes, armed robberies and murders being reported. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) millitant leader Velupillai Prabhakaran may be pushing up daisies, but many others of his ilk continue to trouble the law-abiding public.

Not even law enforcement officers are safe. It was only very recently that criminals put a police officer and wife to a violent death at Kamburupitiya as they suspected he had passed information about them on to the police.

The Island reported on Monday, quoting a Buddhist monk, that extortionists in the city hadn’t spared even a vehicle used for chanting pirith in Pettah. The monk said they exacted as much as 4,000 rupees (US$65.43) daily. Shop owners have to pay substantial amounts of money to various criminal gangs. Bus operators are made to pay extortionists millions of rupees every month.

The police have rid the Peliyagoda fish market of kappan gangs. They went flat-out to cleanse that place and their operations have yielded the intended results. They succeeded because they had the government’s blessings to go the whole hog and achieve their target. But, sadly, extortion gangs operate elsewhere freely.

For a government which wiped out the LTTE’s military arm which was once described as invincible the elimination of extortion gangs should be child’s play. The unbridled freedom these criminals seem to enjoy in the heart of the city makes one wonder whether they have links to the ruling party politicians some of whom are desperadoes themselves as evident from their involvement in grave crimes such as rape and murder.

What traders, bus operators et al experience at the hands of extortionists is, we repeat, nothing but terrorism. It is high time the police were ordered to remove the scourge forthwith. Let no lame excuses be trotted out.

 

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