Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 02 June 2015
Abuse of Death Penalty
As per today’s Daily News, Sri Lankan ‘President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said he would initiate a public dialogue to determine whether capital punishment would be implemented for those who are convicted of peddling, selling and distributing drugs including tablets.’ On reading this, the following message I picked up while updating myself about the progress in relation to the rape victim Miss Vithya Sivaloganathan flashed through my mind:
‘The President’s special attention was drawn to issues relating to the drug menace prevalent among school children in Jaffna. He said he would inform the security officers to be vigilant about this matter.’ http://english.ttnnews.com/2015/05/26/president-maithripala-sirisena-met-the-parents-of-sivaloganathan-vithya/
When reading that report – I felt it was inappropriate timing. Today when I read the above message about Death Penalty – the penny dropped. Former President Mr. Rajapaksa made Terrorism a Political issue. The current President is pushing the drug issue. The above Daily News paper goes on to report: ‘President Sirisena also said Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne who is also committed to the control and prevention of this menace in the country has been selected for the World No Tobacco Day Award this year.
He said he received the same award for his dedication towards the control and prevention of tobacco related product in 2013.’
If President Sirisena and Minister Senaratne are teetotalers, we appreciate that very much. But is that alone enough to discuss through public dialogue - death penalty for traffickers? My Sri Lanka is an educated nation. My Jaffna Education says – ‘If the World No Tobacco Day Award was effective – two years after Mr. Sirisena received that award – we ought to be witnessing lower levels of this drug menace and not higher levels requiring the consideration of Death Penalty.’
My Hindu belief in Karma is leading me to conclude that the excessive use of external knowledge – in areas like death penalty where belief in Natural Justice ought to be the driving force – would return to the Authority using it. The LTTE used it to kill Politicians who contributed to the Self-Governance investments Tamils made – consciously or otherwise – over a long period; former President Rajapaksa used it to eliminate LTTE whose official status was below that of the Government; We observed the Indonesian President use it for Political purposes when he refused to grant Clemency to those who demonstrated that they had reformed themselves and now we Sri Lankans are facing similar threats by the current Government.
Belief or Thought?
LTTE claimed that they were fighting for Self-Governance. To the extent they believed that to be the cause of their fighting – they were defending and not attacking. The outcomes through such actions are for the consumption of Tamils. In terms of Natural Justice therefore – actions to protect one’s Sovereignty earn credit as contributions to Peace. Hence those Tamils who believe that they were protected by the LTTE – are part of the positive side. Those who ‘think’ largely through external forces – including to ‘win and show’ are of the negative side.
Consumer or Supplier?
Hence using this basis – on the intoxicant issue - consumers of intoxicants are also guilty. A parent who would do all possible to bring her/ his child out of the habit of consumption of intoxicants, including killing the child so there is no bad example in the family – is entitled to use the Death Penalty for Political purposes. A law should be applicable at the citizens’ level and in-between – with the degree of punishment or reward varying as per the official hierarchy.
In terms of the Parliament – therefore, what penalty does the President have in mind for members of Parliament who are known (need not be proven) to be consumers of intoxicants? Immediate Dismissal? Likewise in Public Service? What about the Armed Forces? Would all heads of Armed Forces be required to declare under oath – that they are teetotalers? On that basis – as per my knowledge - LTTE leaders would rank higher than those of the Armed Forces of the Government. The root cause is the consumer. A politician is not likely to punish the consumer where s/he knows that majority in the electorate would not vote for her/him if such punishment were enforced. If I have diabetes – there is little point in blaming the sugar trader. Likewise, killing the trader is not going to cure drug users.
I conclude that this issue has been surfaced to gain points with blind followers looking to the Government to do something. We the citizens need to keep our eyes and ears open to protect our families – much more than we did previously. Recently, we heard that a six year old child had been raped in Kilinochchi area – the battle area in Sri Lanka - when she was returning from school. Parents in Tamil areas in Sri Lanka need to take care of their children – especially daughters – before Tamil politicians in opposition point the finger at the Armed Forces for such incidents. Where such finger pointing is excessive – the loss returns to the blamer.
Most Sri Lankans are religious and therefore believe in God to varying degrees. Once we have done all possible to correct the wrong – we need to submit it to the Lord’s system. When we do this and do so sincerely – we will find the solution happening through the pathway of Truth and our belief in that Truth. Those who take their positions as per their true contributions to the issue - would identify with the solution. During my school days eve- teasing was a serious threat in Jaffna. There were instances when men abusively touched inside our Prestigious Nallur Temple during festivals - when there was little room to punish that civilian. But to the extent the victims including myself cursed the perpetrators – they would have got their punishment through the women in their life and their own bodies made less powerful by those curses. That is how God’s system works. Likewise in terms of Terrorism / War crimes also. The Death Penalty if implemented genuinely – may end up claiming more lives than did the war. Sri Lanka has enough human resources to cure this problem through families and community groups. It would be such a shame to abandon it to outsiders.
In any case, if this is a reality in Sri Lanka – then the officers who have the authority to arrest and hear the matter at the primary level – have to be of the one culture. The Bali 9 decision was immoral due to Muslim President punishing through death penalty, non-Muslims for an offense that happened in Hindu Bali. In one instance the Australian Court system rejected my claim of defamation on the basis that the defamatory statements were made in Sri Lanka – even though influenced by Australian Tamils. The honorable judge stated that it was out of Australian Jurisdiction. The matter then went into the Court of Natural Justice because I believe I am Global – which means the Earth is One Land.
The place where the incident happens also empowers and is empowered. This is why we Australians pay our respects to Indigenous Australians who took care of this Land before any other culture did and who continue to live close to the Land. Hence when something happens the Land also contributes its share through those who believe in the land as well as those who disrespect it. Sri Lanka already carries a high degree of karma for punishment by death due to rebellions and ethnic riots. Let’s leave it to Nature to punish by death – the families and friends. The person who gets killed does not suffer as much as the family and friends and the community that s/he is a part of. Hence Death Penalty if used without belief carries the risk of the Authority punishing the families, friends and community more than the offender. To the extent that Authority feels part of this community – s/he would not kill unless s/he believes it to be her/his higher painful duty. The higher duty in this regard needs to be with the Governor and not the Politician. An elected President does not have the moral authority to decide in relation to Death Penalty.