21 September 2012

Thou shalt be amicable!

Army Major, Chandana Pradeep, in an affidavit submitted to court through his counsel, Dinesh Dodangoda, has expressed willingness to reach a compromise on the issue of him being assaulted by a gang of six persons last week at the JAIC-Hilton.  As such he has stated that the principal suspect, Malaka Silva, did not assault him, although he had been present during the attack along with his friend Rehan Wijeratne. 

The key word here is ‘compromise’.  One doesn’t have to be adept at reading between the lines to figure out that ‘compromise’ is not the same thing as ‘settlement’.  Compromise could lead to settlement.  The word itself suggests a certain holding back or giving in.  So what is being held back?  What has been ‘given’? 

Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, who appeared for Malaka and Rehan has alluded to the above affidavit in calling for a quick hearing of the case today (Friday, September 21, 2012).   The reference was to the incident.  In other words the ‘compromise’ is about how the incident was related in the affidavit.  This means, ironically, that the affidavit itself is corrupt.  He has changed the story in order to ‘reach a settlement’. 

Dodangoda, when queried by the Court as to why Major Pradeep had not declared the facts stated in the affidavit, has offered that his client ‘was in a state of shock’.  That ‘shock’ notwithstanding, the good Major has freely related the incident to various newspapers.  It is strange that this shocked man was allowed by his near and dear (and indeed by Counsel) to blab.  This is why it is not an exaggeration to say that upon regaining ‘sanity’, Major Pradeep succeeded in shocking the entire nation by withdrawing his earlier story and replacing it with a narrative that excluded Malaka Silva. 
Now we know that there are lots of subtleties in legal jargon that are based on logic that lay people have no clue about, but when a ‘compromise’ is scripted into affidavit, it suggests that story-alteration is permitted in such submissions.  Ask the man in the street and he will tell you ‘it means that you can lie in an affidavit’.

The Court has asked the pertinent question: ‘Why was the story changed?’  ‘Shock!’ pops the response.  We could quip ‘Shocking!’   

It is always good to settle things amicably.  But this is not a simple matter of a scuffle.  The people involved have histories of scuffling (and that’s putting it mildly).   The parties can ‘settle’.  They can shake hands and part amicably.  The nation doesn’t ‘settle’ that easily though. 

There’s nothing ‘shocking’ about what happened, nothing shocking about the fact that it was all caught on camera.  Sadly, there’s nothing shocking about this ‘settlement’ either, nothing shocking about retracting statements and fudging stories.  It has happened before.  There’s nothing shocking about the incident being lampooned.  Again, it has happened before. 

In general Malaka Silva and/or his father Mervin Silva have been painted as saints.  They have never attacked anyone (yes, what’s caught on camera is ‘doctored’).  There are no victims; just some nutcases who have tied themselves to trees or biffed themselves on their heads. 

The matter, as it stands, will be settled out of court.  A lot of things are settled that way.  Perhaps because there is no other way.  Let us reiterate: this is not some random, trivial, commonplace scuffle.  It is not about the individuals involved.  It involves every single citizen of this country.  And if this is taken as ‘precedent’, sure, let’s settle everything out of court.  Let us say ‘hello’ to anarchy, for there is virtue in stating the truth about the way things really are (sans the trappings, of course).

That would be an ‘amicable’ settlement, one would think, considering the frustration, bitterness and acrimony that legal processes engender.  Yes, let’s be amicable to one another, just like Malaka was to Major Pradeep and how he returned the favor. 
Would you like that, Mr. Politician?  Would you like that Sonna Boy?    

['The Nation' Editorial, September 21, 2012]


Walter Rajaratne said...

We are in a dangerous precedence. Major, according to available information a war hero, has become a minor by surrendering to a thug. Not a whimper, from any quarter of the society. The message is that we are ready to accede to pressure and relinquish all our rights.
Enlarge the theory into the national question. Betraying the unitary status of the country, in plain language, dividing according to Eelam map. The so called hero of nation, Mahinda, who united our divided land, is riding a tight rope with a bunch of rogues in his insatiable mania of building a new Royal family out of nincompoops would go to any extent to reach that goal for his family.

The so called international community, Tamil diaspora, NGO clique along with hegemonic India are tightening the noose around his absent minded brain with the threat of hauling him at the Hague war crime tribunal, would only ask him to choose one out of the two options. Either you give the part of the country or sit on the electric chair.

The man who hijacked the war, from those who fought the battle a lifetime, after going round the mulberry bush with terrorists on peace talks for his ulterior end would simply palm over the sovereignty of the country.

Ramzeen said...

The question that would've been put to the Major may have been on these lines "Major, you are a young man and have a long career ahead of you. Are you going to jeopardize it for a thing like this?" In the US it's called a plea bargain.With public outrage on abuse of power and other excesses of the present administration, completely non-existent, what ultimately matters is how best we can survive.