The Ranjan Ramanayake incident was ongoing in Parliament well into the previous week. The last news item I saw was, Ranjan answering questions about land in Divulapitiya and the JVP Leader saying it was not for him to answer the question asked, and the Prime Minister saving the day by saying he delegated the Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare to field questions on the destruction of property in Divulapitiya.
The act of scraping the earth for lucre
In many places around the Island, sand has been mined and is being mined both, legally and illegally. In Akaragama in Divulapitiya, sand was being unearthed and carted away far in excess of that allowed in the permit obtained. The hamlet is situated in Ranjan Ramanayake’s electorate, so, hearing about the illicit mining he went to the village. We saw pictures that shocked us – a huge muddy lake created by the sand mining. Miners, usually headed by a corrupt politician or a powerful thug, make money and leave in their wake environmental destruction and irreparable damage to villages. We have heard of children drowning in these manmade massive waterholes.
A mild curse – justified
Ranjan Ramanayake phoned the Divulapitiya Divisional Secretary while at the site of the sand mining. We, the viewers of TV news were privy to the conversation that ensued. The DS - a woman - kept saying that the matter should be reported to the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau and later, being reminded that she was neglecting her duty as Divisional Secretary, replied tartly that it was a matter that should be reported to the police. This shrugging off of responsibility and passing the buck is so common and so despicable. It seems that our overloaded bureaucracy and useless Pradeshiya Sabhas et al have plenty members who just sit warming their seats, evading responsibility and passing the buck to others. Easily done now with so many Ministries, most overlapping others. This official took Ranjan Ramanayake’s goat! By that figure of speech nothing more is implied than that she annoyed him and yes, angered him.
She made matters worse by saying she had insufficient staff to attend to official matters. Another common excuse, totally unacceptable when all government and divisional offices are loaded with many not having a day’s work to legitimize their employment. The answer to the problem was the usual: “Submit it in writing and we will see.” Ranjan is a man of action whether in films, real life or in politics. So, he let her have it. Words were not strong; it was the Deputy Minister’s voice and tone that were not really permissible. He did of course curse her – let lightning strike you! Not really very harmful since most people curse that seven henas hit you. The fair Divisional Secy took real offence and her minions, waiting for an opportunity to ice gahanawa more than they do seated at their desks, struck work. They really couldn’t care less, this cat believes, since loyalty to bosses and superiors died with the good government servants we had. But, striking work in protest of anything and everything is the done thing now, so they protested by leaving their desks and lolling around.
Coconut smashing a worse curse than invoking lightning
The Joint Opposition took up the cry and questions were bandied around in Parliament. The furore was disproportionate to the crime. A Deputy Minister got annoyed while looking to the welfare of a village in his electorate, driving all the way there, etc. He is annoyed by a combination of official sangfroid, don’t care attitude and lack of a sense of responsibility in a high official. So he made a mild curse, which echoed and was multiplied tenfold in Parliament.
What about the curses wrought by the sanctimonious Jt Op against the persons of the President and Prime Minister in their trail of coconut smashing? Ranjan R just mouthed a mild curse. Lightning striking that woman Divisional Secretary is very remote; she must always be chauffeur- driven in an official car and living in a lightning proof mansion. But, going to devales and invoking the wrath of deities is positively dangerous since our Prez and PM are vulnerable. A sharp shooter can get them, so how much easier for a god with divine powers to strike them down. And there are, it is believed, deities who love evil and thrive on bringing disaster on people and countries. There is a room set apart in a temple this cat has gone to, to sooniyam devathawa. The very name invokes apprehensive shivers. How much worse when she/he/it is propitiated and bribed with coconuts?
Three cheers to our hero - RR
So we sit back and await more to this tale. This cat freely admits she respects and likes Ranjan Ramanayake. It is not for his muscles or his ability with one shot! It is not for his handsome face. Admiration is for this MP and Deputy Minister being a good politician, in that, he sees to the welfare of his electorate; has refused the car permit and all the millions he could have earned on that. He has also acted quite the knight in shiny armour, speaking and taking action for the sake of suffering domestic aides in the Middle East. Didn’t he travel to Saudi Arabia in an attempt to save that poor girl’s life, imprisoned as she was because she had had the baby in her care choking to death? This time around St George of Diyawanne has had the dragon he attacked, a female, retaliating with a host of vociferous hounds barking for his blood. Many cannot tolerate a politician who is a genuine politician and not in politics to enrich himself.
This feline applauds him and wishes him well! - Menika