The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

I was actually in two minds about writing this post because with all the fake 'news' items - Channel 4 video, Hikka topless pics et al - I wasn't sure that this was a real story. Only after both Daily Mirror and Asian Tribune confirmed it did I decide to post it.

I'm talking about the incident where a youth was forcibly drowned in Bambalapitya on the 29th of October. I thought the video was fake, or rather a hoax, or edited together. It didn't make much sense when I saw it first - why were men beating a guy, with poles no less, refusing to let him come ashore? Why was there no sound? Why were the 50 plus spectators doing nothing to save the guy? And why on earth was the cameraman filming this whole sordid story, without going to save the victim? Surely this video must be a fake.

Alas,  I was wrong. Apparently, the video was genuine, as was the incident because the ensuing outcry has resulted in the arrest of somebody, according to the Asian Tribune.

I'm not sure which facts of this story shocks me more - that at least a hundred people idly watched as a young man was forced to drown (couldn't at least one of them call for help, if not save the youth?), that a person was forced to drown because each time he tried to come ashore he was beaten with poles, that the people doing the beating were cops or that a reporter decided it was better to get a good story by filming the incident from his/her office instead of trying to save the victim.

And why pray tell, has only one person been arrested? I can see three people beating the hapless victim in the video. Is the Bambalapitya police so inefficient that they can identify and arrest only one person per day? How is the country supposed to have faith in the police, when on top of their regular vices, we see this video? Essentially, the cops beat a youth and left him to drown in the ocean because he threw stones at a passing trains. What a police.

(By the by, if you are robbed, raped assaulted or in some other type of danger, would you really want to step inside this police station?)

On to that macabre crowd. How do they sleep at night? Sri Lanka is inundated with mobile phones - could one of them not make a call for help? Out of the 50 plus people there, could one of them not intervene and help the victim? I'm prone to say the same thing about the cameraman: as good as it is to publicise these kind of atrocities, I think the better thing to have done was to go and try save the youth.

What is our society degenerating into, that we would stand by and watch a man being killed? At the drop of a hat, we have people to protest at embassies, protest against NGOs, protest against the war, protest against unemployment...the list is endless. Why is there no bigger outcry about an incident as ghastly as this?

Seriously - the guy threw stones at a train. Is that not enough indication that he was mentally unwell? Is this how we treat people who are mentally unwell - beat them up instead of getting them the help they need?

Had I been in Sri Lanka, I think I would have at least tried to organize all my friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances to stone the Bambalapitiya police station over the long weekend.

There is a Sinhalese word - thirissannu - which describes everyone caught on this video, better than any English word that I can think of.

The link to the Daily Mirror article: http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=66260

The link to the Asian Tribune article: http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2009/10/31/youth’s-drowning-case-police-officer-surrendered

The video is given below (no blood, no gore but truly disturbing):

6 comments:

Its sick really ... Everytime I replay thoes images in my head im filled with disgust, horror, shame... the list goes on...seriously it makes me wonder what the hell we have to boast about??? I mean we boast of a nation in which being mentally unstable is a death sentence...

When it's those 'spectators' who gave the policemen the stick to beat the boy, what more can you say?

When I was watching the video, the first thought that came to my mind was "WTF are the ppl doing, just watching? Why don't they fuckin' call the police".

Then it dawned upon me that it was the police who was whacking the guy....if they're doing it, what other options do u have?

Welcome to SL.

Remember the Angula incident....?

Naturally, its all fake is'nt it? It must so, for they tell us it so and who knows better than they do?

@ Anon 1: I know, shock value aside, this video was truly shameful.

@ Cricket Tragic: I didn't know the poles were given by the spectators...but still, the cops weren't in uniform, right? So at least one or two of the spectators (like the two who are shown getting off a bike) should have done something.

@ Anon 2: I do remember the Angulana incident...there was also a similar case of a student being beaten up by the police in the Malabe/Kaduwela area as well. And these are the guys who are supposed to be protecting us.

As to the fakeness...erm...not sure what you mean. The topless ones may not be fake, but didn't originate from Hikka, and the Channel 4 one I watched, and it did seem fake, especially the more you watch it or think about it.

This particular one - obviously not a fake. But it was my first reaction, because it is so disturbing, and the first thing that came into mind was 'surely this isn't real?'.

At the end of the day, I'm also very saddened that there isn't a bigger public outcry.

And where are the Jehan Pereras and Pakiasothy Saravanamuttus and Kumar Rupesinghes? You couldn't get enough of them when NGO dollars were flying about, but when there is a real issue that needs representation, they are conspicuous by their absence.

Perhaps first we must ask which minister or which official is going to take some interest or responsibility?

This is not an isolated incident. See;

http://www.slmuslims.com/index.php/200909092998/Local-News/Police-custody-deaths-91Govt.php

http://www.lankapuvath.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3228:government-pays-attention-on-complaints-received-against-police-&catid=48:security&Itemid=72

It happens because a culture of impunity prevails. The powers-that-be can get away with anything, even murder.

This is just an absolute joke! It's a sign of the times we live in when people couldn't give a rat's arse about the lives of other humans. It's just another life that means nothing in the politics of the country that is SL in my humble opinion.

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