Sri Lanka’s minister in charge of law and order has become a victim of a hit-and-run attack on the Southern Expressway, but the police department which is under him has failed to track the offending motorist.
Adding insult to injury, the traffic police has given the run around to Minister Sagala Ratnayaka’s personal security officer when he tried to lodge a formal complaint about the incident on Friday night.
Traffic police had insisted that the minister’s vehicle be brought for their inspection leaving the minister high and dry on the expressway while those responsible for traffic on the E1 failed to detain the hit-and-run vehicle.
“If this is the way I am treated, I dread to think what the ordinary people of this country have to put up with,” an exasperated minister was quoted as saying during a meeting with senior police officers at Temple Trees on Monday.
The minister lambasted unnamed officers who had become a hindrance to the government’s “good governance agenda” and were working to cause dissatisfaction among the ordinary people.
Police sources said they hit-and-run incident involving Minister Ratnayaka’s convoy which includes elite Special Task Force (STF) commandos raised several issues of VVIP security in addition to the gross negligence of traffic police.
An official source noted that traffic police had promptly arrested President Maithripala Sirisena’s brother who was accused of knocking down a motorcyclist, but such efficiency was lacking when Minister Ratnayaka was the victim.
While questions are also being raised how and why the STF allowed another vehicle to brush the minister’s car and get away unchallenged. Compromising the minister’s security is something that STF chief is expected to answer.
The incident has underscored the structural issue within the police department which has been spending more time on getting its 85,000 staff to meditate every morning.
Instead of catching hit-and-drivers, Police Chief Jujith Jayasundara has begun a campaign to reward “good” three-wheel drivers in key towns, a government official noted.