Burning down the house. Photo from Daily Mirror.
Sri Lankan politics is honestly a bit mafia. Politicians are involved in drug dealing cause, honestly, where else are you going to get the paper bags full of cash you need for elections. Ministers vehicles have been caught full of ganja (fine by me, honestly, just make it legal), and now there’s been a double murder in Kahawatta which seems connected to both drugs and politicians. Honestly, a lot of these politicians are straight gangster.
The Kahawatta Killings
The big story now is a double murder in Kahawatta where a mother and daughter were killed. A Pradeshiya Sabha (local government) member (L.H. Dharmasiri) and his brother are suspected, and the local mob has already judged them and burnt down their house. From there stuff gets hazy, but what I hear is that the mother and daughter saw or knew about some heroin dealing and had to be snuffed. I’ve heard that the daughter was being forced to run the stuff and, alternately, that they just happened to see it around the house. I don’t know.
I won’t convict Dharmasiri as the mob has cause I know very little, but it all looks super dodge. You hear all this stuff and people know all this stuff but I have never seen anything to connect any politician to the drug trade. Duminda Silva and Mervyn Silva (unrelated) are widely reputed to be drug dealers, but there’s not a shred of evidence to connect them. There are drugs on the street, however, and the cops only bust certain people, and in certain places the cops are selling. For a while in Batticaloa it was the STF selling weed.
Anyways, this stuff is all known, but they’re known unknowns. There’s no cases, there’s no reporting, it’s just known on an oral level but not a literal one.
The Kahawatta killings are blowing up (in the Sinhala papers at least) also because people are damn fed up with Mahinda’s catchers and cronies and the capo level douchebags that … uh, sentence too long. What was I saying, while Mahinda remains widely likable, everybody has some stories of some smarmy asshole dropping Mahinda’s name or Gota’s name or Basil’s name and trying to extort your business, molest your wife, or take your land. Seriously, I know girls getting roofied, contracts being taken by barely existant companies, and people investing in stuff they don’t really want to, all by/for dudes claiming (and often having) connection to the family. Honestly, a lot of these guys are fucking mafiosos in a sarong.
This is the Caporegime, what the mafia calls captains. From the Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman (accused in a horrifying rape and murder of tourists) to this Pradeshiya Sabha guy from Kahawatta, there are a bunch of thugs connected to the regime. At the top there’s Mervyn Silva and Duminda Silva, the former a Minister for Public Relations and the latter rapidly rising until he got injured in a street shoot-out and barely survived.
People tolerated this shit as long as their lives were generally improving, but now these guys look like completely extraneous criminals and just a drain on the system. I know it sound strange, but there actually are useful criminals and every politician knows them. Mahinda’s got to walk a tight balance here. He does depend on these guys to keep the whole patronage system running, but allow this cancerous elite to get out of control and the whole body politic will revolt. Or at least the locals will revolt, things will jam in the courts, and the system will slowly return to business as usual. I fear the latter remains the status quo.