Colombo, Politics and Governance

The not so curious case of Hirunika Premachandra

Original photo published in The Nation

Hirunika Premachandra is either one confused woman or one shrewd woman.  One moment she is unleashing her wrath on MP Duminda Silva, the chief suspect in the fatal shooting which led to the death of her father Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. The next moment she is on an election platform of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) asking voters to “strengthen the hands of President Mahinda Rajapaksa” by voting for his Party.

The cold, hard reality is this. Duminda Silva is a darling of this administration, no two words about it. He was well sheltered, long before be become involved in the fatal shooting of B.L.Premachandra, despite his name being linked to several illegal activities. In fact he was rewarded for being a law unto him by being appointed as the Monitoring MP for the Ministry of Defence.  Can things get any more blatantly clear than this fact itself that he is in the top notch company of those at the helm of power in this country?  Duminda Silva was also well sheltered after the shooting incident, kept under heavy guard in a semi government hospital before being whisked away under even higher security to Singapore to undergo treatment for injuries he suffered during the shooting incident.

He has being visited by big wigs in the government in hospital in Singapore as has been widely reported in the local media. The Police, as always, when it comes to apprehending those with links to the political hierarchy, have been lackadaisical when investigating the murder. In this case what the Police eventually did was submit to Court a ludicrous statement by MP Silva saying that he does not remember the incident that led to Premachandra’s death.

Since the killing of her father last October, Hirunika, very ably aided by some sections of the media, has widely portrayed herself as a champion of justice. She has exploited to the maximum the gullibility of those sections of the media that seek to make heroes of people who don’t deserve an iota of the publicity they get but hey, certain physical attributes do help in this regard which I will leave out as it could offend feminists.  The last thing I want is to make sexist remarks and being a woman it would be doubly unkind to do so, hence I will leave that aspect aside and address the facts.

Surely Hirunika cannot be living in wonderland and be unaware that her father’s perturbed killer is enjoying state patronage at the highest level. . This is a fact that that every man, women and child on the street in this country knows. No one expects MP Silva to ever face trial for the murder and that too with good reason. How many politicians or those with connections to them (I don’t want to even start on the case of the other notorious Silva) have been dealt with the severity with which they should be dealt with according to laws in place in this country even after being suspected of committing the most heinous crimes such as murder and rape and showing blatant disregard for the law?

Does Hirunika seriously think she will get justice for her father by cozying up to the big wigs in Government? To me she seems as keen as a lot of other women in politics in the country, who were quick to jump in the band wagon to score political points as soon as a man in their lives (father, husband, son, and lover) was removed from the scene due to some reason or the other. Sri Lankan voters have amply demonstrated, over and over again, that a few tears and an impassioned speech by woman can melt many a heart so much so that they will end up voting such persons into office. She does not have to fear that her double acting will spoil her chances of being elected because it’s very unlikely that our voters have turned more discerning overnight and will see through people like her.   There is a pretty good chance she will be nominated as a candidate to contest an upcoming election under the   UPFA ticket, secure victory and be seen seated next to Dumidna Silva chit chatting.  This country’s seen worse so no one should be surprised.

After all, Hirunika   has been afflicted with the same type of amnesia that Duminda Silva has been afflicted with. That is politics, Sri Lanka style which takes the much quoted adage, “No permanent friends, no permanent enemies in politics,” to a new height.