Teach to earn, not to beg

Last week what the media reported was not that positive and satisfactory. During last week, the media reported several incidents of exploitation of children, abuse of women and similar incidents from all over the country. It seems Sri Lanka needs to strengthen measures in order to protect the poor, helpless and powerless people from the powerful.

According to one incident reported over the media last week, a child who sat for the G.C.E. Ordinary Level Examination and worked at a clothing shop was sexually abused inside the bus she travelled from the shop to her home after finishing her work at night. She had gone for work because of her family’s poor financial status. Rich children do not work because their rich parents look after them. Poor children work to find money for their studies and also to help the family.

According to another incident reported over the media last week another female child was abused inside a police station after sending her mother out to answer a telephone call. The mother had seen how her daughter was abused through an open window and screamed.

Another woman accused the law enforcement officers of brutally attacking her with a piece of pipe after she screamed to escape from harassment she suffered while using the toilet in a police station at night. According to the last incident reported from Mount Lavinia, a 15-year- old child had been ‘sold’ by her mother and some others as a prostitute and one of her clients was a Deputy Chairman of a Local Government body. Later it was revealed that there were over 100 clients and a captain of a ship and a law enforcement officer were also among them.

Sexual abuse

When we go through those incidents reported by almost all Sri Lankan media last week, we can see that all those victims had come from poor, helpless and powerless families. None of them belonged to powerful or affluent families or the upper social class. The common factor of all of them is being powerless. They even did not have proper homes which can be locked properly at night.

Now all interested parties can go to town with those incidents and also go to the international platforms stating that the Government violates human rights etc. But the bitter truth is a handful of individuals did their best to tarnish the good image of the Government by implementing their personal agendas and fulfilling their sexual desires while doing their official duties. Maybe they were thinking that their powerful professions will protect them. But the Government has already taken action against them.

Sri Lanka needs to strengthen the protection given to the people coming from such backgrounds. It is not an easy task because this issue is more complicated than anyone thinks. The majority of the people belong to this powerless social class are engaged in illegal activities such as drug trafficking and the law enforcement officers know this fact very well due to their long term experiences. Therefore it is very easy to catch those people for some type of offence at any time.

On the other hand, those people are not that honest. Usually they exaggerate things in order to gain certain things such as sympathy, assistance or sometimes to take revenge for something else that happened in the past such as harassment or something. This is similar to an unbroken circle. The main factor behind this circle is their powerlessness which is caused by poverty.

What can be done at this moment is not the total eradication poverty at once. What the Government can do is introducing a strong system in order to ensure the protection of innocent, poor powerless people’s safety. A hotline can be introduced in order to lodge complains for them without visiting police stations. Law enforcement officers can be prohibited from keeping women and children at police stations after 6.00 pm. Keeping women and children in police stations during day time without a female police officer can be banned. Then various types of issues can be minimized. Recruiting adequate number of female police officers is another measure that can be taken to ease the situation. These steps can be taken very quickly and without much trouble. Only issuing a circular is required.

Stern action has been taken by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) against the Deputy Chairman of a Local Government body who was connected to the incident of exploiting a 15 year old child. On the other hand no one can call a person ‘mother’ and ‘father’ who sell the body of their beloved daughter to earn money. It is similar to making something out of your own blood and flesh and eating it just like some animals do. Some of them eat their own new born. Using one’s own daughter as a prostitute is not vastly different from that. This shows the depth of social destruction that had taken place here in Sri Lanka after 1977 with the introduction of the open economy. This incident is also directly connected to poverty.

Social welfare schemes

Poverty should have been eradicated by all the previous Governments through implementing a practical system to establish income generating avenues for them without offering them Janasaviya, Samurdhi and all types of social welfare schemes. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa raised this issue during his speech delivered at the 27th Anniversary of the Samurdhi Movement recently. After 1977, the majority of poor Sri Lankans only demand things from the Governments and they have nothing to offer to the country. By now they think it is right because still the Opposition promotes this wrong practice.

As a result of the failure of all types of social welfare schemes implemented in Sri Lanka, today the Government is forced to look after a large number of families by offering them money in various types of names such as Samurdhi, Vedihiti Deemanawa (elders’ allowance), etc. But even a child in Grade Five can see that this process will never end. People should be ready to learn a craft, do it and earn their living without blaming the Government all the time for not giving them enough money to live. Unfortunately this enslaved mentality had been created in people after 1977 and still maintained very well by the same rulers who introduced it. This enslaved concept is very popular because people can do nothing and get money from the Government.

Opposition members

Nowadays some individuals, groups and others talk about economic setback of the country as if this (current) Government has been ruling the country since 1948. They now use the same tactics they used in 2015 to make people believe this utter lie and also to make people forget that they were a huge part of the process. This is a very easy task for them because the people only remember things for two weeks as stated by the LTTE leader and they behave like they were born only after 2019.

There have been a large number of Heads of State in Sri Lanka since 1948. There were many political parties which ruled Sri Lanka from 1948. There were a large number of Prime Ministers. There were Prime Ministers who were in power for nearly 5-6 times. But now it seems certain interested parties and individuals are trying their best to give the whole responsibility of ruining the country to the current Government and the Government that ruled the country from 2005- 2015. Now it seems there was no Government in Sri Lanka from 2015 to 2019 and the country was ruled by itself. It seems this current Government ruled the country from 2005 to 2021 continuously. It is hilarious to hear what some opposition members of Parliament say now.

By now the so-called environmentalists seem to have vanished into thin air. They were there shouting from their roof tops stating that the Government is destroying forests and a few of them then started to talk about the marine pollution caused by the X-Press Pearl ship. Now nobody can find any of them because the entire country is promoting organic agriculture. It seems the environmentalists have suddenly become deaf, blind and dumb. It is time to be realistic and understand the nakedness of Facebook ‘heroes’ and WhatsApp ‘heroes’ who pushed the country into the current situation in order to gain personal benefits during the past few decades.

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