Yesterday (08) dawned with banners, posters, flags, and cutouts for the "Punurudayaka Arambuma - Beginning of a Renaissance" across the island. They were prepared to commemorate the appointment of Basil Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance. The Sri Lanka People's Front as a party had organized various celebrations for this purpose by spending a huge amount of time, labor, and money. Accordingly, yesterday should have ended with the news broadcasts of all media institutions and the social media networks filled with the joyous moments of the Arrival of Basil. But what really happened?
The Sri Lankan police carried out a furious, barbaric and despicable attack on a group of monks, trade union activists, students, political activists, elderly mothers, and women who were protesting near the Parliament Roundabout yesterday. This is insanely disgusting and it cannot be allowed. Even a staunch government supporter who viewed its photos and videos will be shocked.
Destroying the advertising project of the year in one hour
Accordingly, the day that began with the arrival of Basil ended with the evening news broadcasts of media institutions and all social media networks filled with scenes of the despicable attack by the police. In a matter of hours, the Sri Lanka Police completely destroyed the first and only massive propaganda project planned by the government for a long time and carried out so far this year.
This barbaric police attack cannot be said to have been carried out by any politician. This is because a person who has a vague understanding of politics and can therefore be called a politician would never support such a thing. In the face of the voices being raised against this police brutality in society, the police really have to accept the responsibility alone. No mindful politician would take such a step.
Why is this barbaric police attack portrayed as an anti-government conspiracy?
Attacking the root of the government's vote base
The present government came to power with the help of the Sinhala Buddhist electorate. In fact, they were able to win a presidential election because the Sinhala Buddhist people trusted them. Because they hoped that this government would treat them correctly. But yesterday, the Sri Lankan police dragged Buddhist monks in robes like animals in front of the country as well as the entire world. They knocked the monks to the ground and attacked them. Social media networks are now full of those photos and videos. It has been just two weeks since the Poson Poya. Opposition activists ask Pohottu supporters, whether this is a hunt on monks and is this how they treat the Sinhala Buddhist monks.
In Sinhala Buddhist culture, women and mothers are highly regarded and respected. Scenes from yesterday's brutal police raid include photos and videos of a group of policewomen dragging several women over 60 with their limbs. Those mothers may have come to ask the government to protect the educational rights of anyone and their children, not to commit theft, robbery, or murder. There is no answer to any of these questions. The message given by the police to the poor at the village level is further strengthened by the harassment of these mothers carried out by the policewomen.
Accordingly, the government's Sinhala-Buddhist vote base had been slapped with the Sri Lankan police in mind as a great heroic act yesterday.
On the other hand, this can hardly be described as an act of good faith by the police under quarantine laws in the interest of the health of 20 million ordinary people. This is because the police had not obstructed those thousands of Pohottu supporters who had marched through the streets of villages and towns yesterday celebrating Basil's arrival.
Photos of both situations attached together are currently being circulated on social media. They question the current government's strongest propaganda concept of "one country - one law". The Kotelawala Defense University Act which led to this specific agitation should have been postponed to another date. It is a political ploy of the democratic movement to take a step back. When the government tried to solve it in such a democratic manner in Parliament, why did the police had to act like this on the streets?
The people of the country today are facing a number of problems. In addition to the covid epidemic, they have been affected by government decisions. Farmers have no fertilizer. Commodity prices have skyrocketed. Revenue streams are still subject to certain restrictions. No matter what the ministers say, the people are under a lot of pressure. In that case, they need a way to release their stress. They should have the opportunity to protest and express their protest on social media. None of these people are taking to the streets to revolt to overthrow the government. These are peaceful protests. The people must have the opportunity to express their opposition in the democratic process to express their grief and pressure. They will then protest and return home. But when that protests are blocked or obstructed, the pressure explodes, even in non-democratic ways. We do not know whether the police wanted to push the people there. This takes the nature of an anti-government conspiracy for the above main reasons.
People will not forgive for ignorance of the law
Finally, a lesson from history must be pointed out. A government can rule a country for a short time by launching severe repression when the people are unable to meet their daily needs. The long-term consequences could be severe enough to wreak havoc on the political party that formed that government. For example, the United National Party (UNP), which carried out a series of terror attacks in 1988-89, has not been able to win the presidency or form a government on its own for three decades. They formed governments in 2001 and 2015 with the support of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and not alone. The people did not give them a single power. On the other hand, neither government was able to serve its full term. It can also be described as a historic political sin committed over three decades. These are lessons for anyone to learn.
The government, which has not been in power for at least 2 years, should beware of those dumb people engaged in or advising on such dumb work as they did yesterday. Just as ignorance of the law is not forgiven before the courts, so ignorance of politics is not forgiven by the people.