Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Crumbling democracy in Sri Lanka

Indian news media seems to be least bit concerned about the situation emerging in Sri Lanka. The Tamil Nadu newspapers (both Tamil and English) were primarily concerned about the civil war in which LTTE was destroyed by the Sri Lankan military. Since then, the coverage, if any, is only about whether Sri Lankan state will be held responsible for the human rights violations during and in the run up to the war.

Currently, the Rajapakse clan who have enormous control over every aspect of Sri Lankan administration is in the process of impeaching the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka Supreme Court. I have not seen any news coverage of this in the Tamil Nadu media.

The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has hardly been the upholder of democratic rights and human rights of the Sri Lankans. The Cage, by Gordon Weiss documents how the courts have systematically sided with the ruling dispensation to terrorise and bulldoze the opponents into submission. Yet, whenever bodies such as UN and International human rights organizations have complained about the dwindling civil rights in the country, the ministers and secretaries of the government will jump up and say that the Sri Lankan justice system is exemplary and will provide justice for all better than any foreign body would.

The current attempts of impeachment shows that Rajapakse & co will not brook any form of non-compliance from other "pillars" of their democracy. Just as Rajapakse group dispensed with the army commander Sarath Fonseka and put him in jail on trumped up charges, now it is the turn of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.

Indian news media focused on the power struggle in Pakistan between then dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf and the Supreme Court of Pakistan. However, there is not much interest in a similar struggle happening in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka will soon be a right wing dictatorship under Mahinda Rajapakse, where dissent in any form will not be allowed. The opposition UNP under Ranil Wickremasinghe is powerless. Sarath Fonseka has been emasculated. The army is controlled by the defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse, a younger brother of Mahinda, while the Parliament is controlled by the speaker Chamal Rajapakse, an elder brother of Mahinda. If you have a pliant Chief Justice, then even the bits and pieces legal opposition can be taken care of.

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