During my two visits to the Northern Province I was captivated by the alluring sunsets and spicy succulent food of this majestic land. It was visible that there is a rising pattern in organized criminal activity. There is a clarion call for a systematic enforcement of the Law. This conundrum is an off shoot of post war social issues, which the Police and citizens are beginning to realize, along with civil-minded societies. A meeting was held recently at the Governor’s Secretariat to discuss these issues.
Probing the post war era of World War Two the American society, with its displaced population, began to experience a sense of paranoia and aggression, with the abundance of alcohol and narcotics. Even the music reflected this with the new genre of Rock n Roll, with defiant lead guitar riffs and stubborn drumbeats. There was a Red Scare – the fear that Communism would spread into the nation.
The pursuit of wisdom, upholding of tradition and religious devotion were the key elements of the Northern social fabric. Today these binding threads are tearing apart. A ‘western imitation’ seems to permeate the younger generation. Birthed during the war, these youth have grown up with resentment and misdirection. Both males and females can further be grouped into what many agree are two sections of people vulnerable to criminal tendencies. Group one are those in the ages of 30 to 40 whose lives were ‘wasted’ by the conflict. These are men and women who endured many hardships, could not sit for their Advanced Level exams and never entered university.
The women of this category also represent a majority of war widows and single mothers. The few fortunate girls who were able to marry Tamil men based in Europe managed to escape the burdens of post war Jaffna. The men with lesser prospects, living with regrets are compelled to find inconsistent employment. Being unmarried, yet human they have now turned to enjoy sexual gratification from mischievous widows. Some will take offence at this revelation and deny it. This is reality. A walk in the dark in many villages will offer you enticing encounters. The sad part is that children are born with no father, creating a new wave of dependents. There is also a silent spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Is this unrestrained lust not a serious crime? It is the men of this group who are also engaged in minor crimes like stealing a bicycle or meandering goat. Having no social life, they have found delight in adulterated cheap liquor.
The second Group belonging to the ages of 18 to 25 are the radical set, being very tech savvy and prone to impulsive criminal delights including rape and murder. There is an increase in online pornography as well as sword and hatchet attacks. Another reason they are able to enjoy a free life, is the monetary support that flows in monthly from overseas. Decades ago young men of this age group excelled in their studies and went on to reign in Government Service. Today these delinquent souls have grown up with uncaring relatives or single mothers who have no control of them.
Foolishly influenced by Tamil and Hindhi cinema they live in denial, not aware of their rich cultural heritage. They are enslaved to foreign liquor, cigarettes and drugs. Today ‘liberated’ young girls have chosen to go astray too. Decades ago young women were brilliantly beautiful in saree and other modest attire. Now the trend is to provokingly reveal one’s cleavage! We have all witnessed the rise in sadistic rape in the Northern Province, where many innocent victims were school girls, whose parents are still weeping.
The Catholic Bishop Dr. Justin Gnanapragasam has boldly raised his voice asking the authorities to rapidly harness this crisis. In the recent past Minister Swaminathan had requested the IGP to set up a Police crime reporting hotline where people can call and complaint in Tamil. Echoing a similar sentiment Sumanthiran had wisely pointed out that a key element in the rising crime wave is the lack of Tamil speaking Policemen in the province, and there still remains a language barrier.
The community must be involved in crime prevention. The Police face a daunting task, and must address this issue and consolidate the once strained trust of the Northern people and uphold the law. Politicians, civil society, teachers and clergy must also be
stakeholders. As Henry Thomas Buckle put it, Society prepares the crime, the criminal