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What cannot be forgotten, as the State would like us to, is the reality that the responsibility for convicted prisoners and remanded persons lies wholly with the Govt.


By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The Mahara Prison and its 11 inmates who have died, or were killed by gunshots or other means, is certainly in the mind of the people.

As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads beyond the often declared expectations of hopes of the government, the Mahara Prison has raised the question of how Covid infected persons, whether symptomatic or not, are actually handled by the State, or the Prison authorities. What cannot be forgotten, as the State would like us to, is the reality that the responsibility for convicted prisoners and remanded persons lies wholly with the Government.

Any move to escape this responsibility, or to sidewalk this, is a show of disregard for the duties of governance. To move in such a direction is certainly a reversal or U-turn from the substance of democratic governance.
Are we seeing the reality of such a turnabout in politics and governance?
Minister Wimal Weerawansa has certainly given us cause to realise that the government has certainly reversed from the democratic process. He is a Minister known more for his verbal abuse of persons and policies. But his comment on the Mahara Prison disaster being caused by a “Reverse” drug, puts the whole government – from the President downward, into a massively reverse process in governance.

This Reverse Weerawansa is one who does not know that a meagre sum of Rs. 5000/- is wholly insufficient to maintain a family of three or four persons for even a week. That is Reverse Ignorance.

His Reverse thinking must have taken out of his mind the several close relations that enjoyed residence in comfly state buildings, under his own ministry. Was Reverse Weerawansa in hiding or secret meditation when US Secretary of State Pompeo called on Sri Lanka, to convey a message of international capitalist dominance of the US and Donald Trump? Or, was his mind softened into silence by a tablet or two of Political Reverse?

Recent events have shown that many reversals have become the stuff of governance today, especially after the 20A; which was a huge reverse of the democratic process. We now have a Parliament that gives a special place to a person sentenced to death for murder. We see our courts engaged in a speedy spate of activity that removes suspicions and allegations against public servants, politicians and Rajavasala members who have been accused, charged by the police and the courts, with a sweeping silence by the Attorney General and other formal defenders of the Rule of Law. Is this the Reverse Silence of the Legal Process?

Was that State Minister of Wildlife Protection and Forest Resources Wimalaweera Dissanayake also engaged in swallowing some Reverse tablets when he acted so wildly against an officer engaged in protection of Wildlife and the Forests? Was this reverse behaviour because he is a Wimalaweera, so politically close to the Weerawansa?

Should the public also need Reverse tablets to take our own action against the politicians – Ministers and MPs, and many officials – who are now engaged in the huge destruction of forest terrain in this “Isle of Paradise”? Or, are we to await some future court rulings that all those who cleared this jungle terrain should be asked to pay for replanting these forests, and restoring the country to its present terrain? A great reversal in judicial thinking.
Is it possible that much of today’s hasty court procedure could also be due to the judicial swallowing of Justice Reverse tablets. Fiat Justitia – Let Justice be done!

Minister Weerawansa takes his Reverse Thinking into vast terrains of political crookedness. He says that two Reverse pills give the taker a search for blood, and thus blames the bloodshed at Mahara Prison on this Reverse move. The reality is that the country and people have not yet received a full report on the cause of death of these protesting callers for protection from Covid-19. The cries and tears of families outside the Mahara Prison, seeking some information about the inmates, especially remandees, was certainly not to do with any Reverse tablets, although Weerawansa and his followers would like to tell us that too.

How could a State Prison store any, or the huge numbers mentioned, of such Reverse tablets? Were they ordered by doctors or supplied by some dirty dealers of pharmaceutical trade or industry? A speedy inquiry into this by non-Reverse officials is the call of the day.

The Reverse Thinking of Weerawansa also tells Parliament that the Mahara violence and tragedy is of international interest. Whatever the world may be thinking about Sri Lanka, and its reverse thinking process in politics, the people here are certainly concerned about the huge overcrowding in the prisons of this country, the delay in releasing remand prisoners after their dates of release, holding them longer for delays in paying fines or other judicial payments, and the huge delay in taking these matters to the necessary courts using the Digital Process, which is the loud hurrah of the big names in power today.

There is certainly no need for any Reverse tablets for the world to be interested in Sri Lanka and its prison conditions. The whole Prison Process is far behind the day and age. We are behind the prison situation in the colonial days. Prison Reform must be a keyword of those who believe in democracy in Sri Lanka. The Welikada Prison riot in 2012, killing 20 and injuring many more; and the earlier Prison Massacre in 1983 Black July, are certainly matters that cannot be forgotten, even through any Reverse tables process.

The call is for a Forward March in Democracy, against the Reverse March of the 20A, which is the current thinking of those who celebrate the Mahara Prison Disaster.

Courtesy:The Island