Kahawatta Killings And The Caporegime

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.

Caporegime

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.

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7 Comments »

shammi
2012-03-10 11:54:31

I read the details of the Kahawatte case in The Island and it was pretty gory. Both the husband and wife were involved in the murder (they’ve now confessed) and their children testified that the parents were sitting in the h0use covered in blood after the deed was done.

How can you say there’s not a shred of evidence against Duminda and Mervyn Silva? They carried out their violent activities pretty much in the open. I’m sure if one was only allowed to look, they could easily unearth plenty. I seem to remember an instance where Merve personally escorted a wanted criminal out of the country via the VIP lounge when things became hot. The evidence has to be there.

So many recent cases of rape, murder and extortion seemed to have a Pradeshya Sabha member behind it, and these types get their nominations through the patronage of ministers or through connections to party higher ups or the first family. The cancer is widespread and people are either ignorant, powerless or fearful, and all they will ever do is something lame like burning down houses, when things get too unbearable.

 
Gun Gun
2012-03-11 00:45:30

People deserve the leaders they elect

shammi
2012-03-11 21:37:09

If elections were free and fair.

 
 
shammi
2012-03-11 21:42:51

Where IS everybody this weekend?

 
2012-03-12 11:55:35

Serendipity looked at the problem, see his post below, I’ve commented on it as well. This is what I said:

It is a symptom of a larger problem. There is a breakdown of the rule of law and as a consequence, a lack of faith in the law-enforcement authorities in particular and authority in general.

Look at all of these cases in detail. In almost all instances, one of the culprits was either a politico or a crony, who was seen to be immune – to get away with it in effect. The police and the courts are seen to be impotent and anger boils over into violence.

The system is corrupted by power but also by money. If the police and judiciary can be bought, it is rendered ineffective and thus end up with the same problem as above.

There are milder manifestations of the phenomenon as well, such as in the total ignorance of road rules, because the RMV is bribed and the cops can be bribed.

I have looked at aspects of the problem here:

http://jestforkicks.blogspot.com/2011/10/uneasy-villagers.html

and here:

http://jestforkicks.blogspot.com/2011/08/growing-lawlessness.html

Further useful commentary here:

http://transcurrents.com/news-views/archives/9313

http://kalpanakaranna.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-do-we-explain-this-regular.html

 
2012-03-12 11:57:44

Serendipity blogged about it and I commented on his post (link below).

http://kalpanakaranna.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-do-we-explain-this-regular.html

This is what I said:

It is a symptom of a larger problem. There is a breakdown of the rule of law and as a consequence, a lack of faith in the law-enforcement authorities in particular and authority in general.

Look at all of these cases in detail. In almost all instances, one of the culprits was either a politico or a crony, who was seen to be immune – to get away with it in effect. The police and the courts are seen to be impotent and anger boils over into violence.

The system is corrupted by power but also by money. If the police and judiciary can be bought, it is rendered ineffective and thus end up with the same problem as above.

There are milder manifestations of the phenomenon as well, such as in the total ignorance of road rules, because the RMV is bribed and the cops can be bribed.

I have looked at aspects of the problem here:

http://jestforkicks.blogspot.com/2011/10/uneasy-villagers.html

and here:

http://jestforkicks.blogspot.com/2011/08/growing-lawlessness.html

Further useful commentary here:

http://transcurrents.com/news-views/archives/9313

 
sack
2012-03-12 11:58:47

well for a change this wasn’t one of the “Mahinda‚Äôs catchers and cronies”.
this guy (John) is a older party member who really is in the opposing team inside the party.

 
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