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Sunday, 24 June 2012

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Crime blown out of proportion

Unlike in the past, today we often read about serious crimes such as murder, rape and child abuse in the country. Incidents of this nature could lead one to infer that crime is on the increase. Hence, it behoves us to take a closer look at these incidents to see whether the police or the Government is reprehensible as all sorts of allegations are being levelled by the Opposition.

There is a large number of radio and television channels, newspapers and websites at present which blow up stories out of proportion for reasons best known to them. In days gone by, we only had the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and handful of newspapers which reported these stories in a free and fair manner.

However, crime stories, dramatised by unscrupulous scribes and radio/television presenters as if they had been eyewitnesses to these gory incidents, are lapped up by gullible people. The manner in which these stories are projected by some newspapers and radio stations, rather than discouraging such incidents, glorifies them and rouses the curiosity of the present generation of youth. Moreover, such stories are tendentious and presented with ulterior motives.

In other words, most of the print and electronic media today give undue prominence to such incidents, thereby luring those with a similar mindset to follow suit. There is a popular demand for crime stories today, especially rape cases. Some newspapers, radio and television channels, in a relentless competition with one another, exploit such stories to gain the maximum mileage and cheap popularity to increase their market share.

On the other hand, there also is a marked increase in reporting such crime cases to the law enforcement agencies in the country. The Police Department has spared no pains to apprehend such miscreants and bring them to book. Hence the police are now uncovering almost all crime incidents reported in the media.

In this scenario, one could run away with the idea that there is an increasing crime wave in the country. It has now come to light that almost all major crime reported in recent times has been either due to personal disputes or sudden provocation.

Disgruntled Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, in the mistaken belief that he could gain maximum political mileage by exploiting certain crimes that had caught public attention over the past few months, has said that a woman was free to walk from Point Pedro to Point Devundara when he was Prime Minister. By this, Wickremesinghe had attempted to paint a gloomy picture of the current security situation.

It seems strange that the UNP and Opposition Leader had apparently forgotten the fact that not only a woman but even a heavily armed soldier could not walk freely from Point Pedro to Point Devundara during the UNP regime as LTTE terrorism was at its peak. At the time, nobody could go beyond Anuradhapura for that matter, let alone Point Pedro.

Wickremesinghe fails to realise that it was President Mahinda Rajapaksa who created a peaceful environment for anybody to get about freely in any part of the country.

Opposition politicians should desist from attempting to gain petty political mileage from any untoward incident. The Katuwana incident has been a blessing in disguise for the JVP, at a time its small vote base is deteriorating further. Will the Government, even in its wildest dreams, instigate any attack on the debilitated JVP, which poses no threat to the ruling party?

Would any Government politician even dream of getting involved in such incidents especially in Hambantota, the President's home town? True to form, the Opposition blames the Government even for any isolated incident in Hambantota. Does the Government need to suppress its political opponents who are incapable of posing any threat to it?

People are more intelligent and certainly no fools to swallow Somawansa's bait hook line and sinker. The JVP owes a debt of gratitude to the main accused for giving it a political slogan. The masses are acutely aware that Wickremesinghe, who is drifting in the political wilderness, would stop at nothing to browbeat Sajith Premadasa, who is posing an increasing threat to the UNP leadership.

Sarath Fonseka, who is languishing in the political arena, having gained a presidential pardon, has jumped on board the bandwagon by exploiting the Katuwana incidents for his political survival.

The police are doing its utmost to track down all suspects of the Katuwana double murder. In the event the Opposition is sincere on acting in a responsible manner, it should help the police to carry out its investigations rather than jumping to conclusions.

The police, in recent months, have uncovered several mysteries pertaining to crime. The law enforcement officers have done much to check undesirable characters in a praiseworthy manner. It would be only a matter of time for the police to end crime in the country.

Nevertheless, the police alone cannot eliminate crime. Public co-operation is of utmost importance and public awareness programs should be held to educate the masses against crime.

If one were to analyse the most serious crime reported in recent times, it is crystal clear that most of these incidents stem from personal disputes.

Crimes committed in the North and the East were not reported prior to the eradication of terrorism. Today, the number of incidents reported in the country includes those of the two provinces as well. Since the total number of crimes reported in the country in recent years is marginal, nobody could point an accusing finger to say that the crime rate has increased.

It seems that even an isolated incident in recent times had received extraordinary public attention due to the intense publicity given to those incidents.

Any right-thinking person would condemn the Katuwana and Kahawatte murders in no uncertain terms. It is the bounden duty of one and all to create more public awareness to eradicate crime.

Religious and social leaders too should play a greater role to change the people's mindset to banish crime in the country.

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