The defense secretary spews lies! Presents a non-existent, imaginary law as the law of the land

Kamal Gunaratne, who is not the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security concerned with the maintenance of civil law and order in the country, but the Secretary of the Ministry of Defense and Ranil Wickremesinghe’s crony Kamal Gunaratne, held a press conference justifying the disgraceful way the security forces behaved in the recent past violating human rights.

He attempted, unsuccessfully, to justify it because there is a strong public opposition to the government’s vile actions of attacking the common people.

There he said that ‘Agitations and protests can be done democratically’. We ask which yardstick Kamal Gunaratne, who talked about shooting opponents below the knees, uses to measure ‘democracy’ of the protests. And what right does he have to decide that? He is not the secretary of a ministry in charge of the police.

Even when talking about past events, he distorted the truth to serve the narrow political needs of his superiors.

He made a serious false statement that ‘hundreds of cases of murder and arson took place’. However, serious crimes in the category of murders occurred on May 9 as a public response to a terrorist act by Mahinda Rajapaksa, Johnston Fernando, Sanath Nishantha and others. There were no ‘hundreds of murders’ before or after that.

Most deaths in the country’s past have been due to the corrupt, irregular, and wasteful work of the government, the covid epidemic, deaths in petrol queues, deaths of patients due to lack of medicine, as well as crimes that have occurred in the past due to the failure of the police. In terms of the death toll, the number of deaths due to government failures is huge.

Kamal Gunaratne also made statements such as ‘The public started asking where is the law of this country, where is the security of this country, and where is our security’. Since we are among the public, we must accept that the public did make such inquiries. Protesters asked these questions. But where was protection for the people who died in petrol queues? Aren’t they murders? People asked, ‘Where is the security of the people that was lost due to hunger, lack of medicine, and malnutrition?’

They attacked people who took to the streets asking those questions. They shot and killed people like Chaminda Lakshan. Poisonous tear gas, which can now be considered chemical weapons, were used to attack people. Finally, with the support of Deshbandu Tennakon and the police, they beat up people who demanded justice at Galle Face on May 9. So, of course people asked, ‘where is our security?’

But Kamal Gunaratne interprets this issue to further deprive people of their safety and to attack people. To continue protecting a minority of the country’s rulers and their cronies. Attacking the people who asked questions more will not solve the problem.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Defense also said that legal action is being taken against those who ‘behave unlawfully, those who break the law, and those who disturb the public’. He is not an officer in charge of the police. The police are not under his authority. His duty lies in another area. Therefore, he may not know that what the police are doing is unlawful. Had he seen the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court hearing about the police attacking peaceful protesters on September 24, he would have realized that the police were not taking ‘legal steps’. The lawyers clearly confirmed that the police were completely illegal in the court, making the police at a loss for answers.

Kamal Gunaratne once again talks about the responsibility of an institution that is not under his control, saying that the responsibility of the police is to create an environment where the public can live freely. What is this ‘public’? What is ‘freedom’? Kamal Gunaratne would be at a loss for answers if these questions were asked from him.

In addition, he made an inaccurate statement that there has been a decades-long practice of obtaining permission for protests and meetings. Some of the old laws made by ‘white people’ in the 1800s have been revised by modern laws and modern court decisions, including the constitution that came after that. The ‘Jana Ghosha’ case and many other court decisions have clearly mentioned the right to protest. In fact, there are Supreme Court judgments which have determined that protests cannot be interrupted if they have not been notified in advance.

He is distorting that law and presenting it as the law of his imaginary country. We must remember that he is not a legal expert suitable to interpret the law or an officer in charge of the police responsible for maintaining civil law and public order.

Even now there is public disgust for these rulers misusing the resources of the police and going beyond the limits of their authority to protect a minority. Kamal Gunaratne is a public servant who is greatly despised. Although he claims to be a public servant, he probably doesn’t even know what that means.