Have proper guidelines for curfew passes

I read with interest the letters to The Island newspaper by Dr. Sarath Obeysekera (Dr.S.O) and a reader Sumith Silva (S.S) over the refusal of a curfew pass to the former by the OIC, Thalangama Police Station.

The episodes narrated by the two parties disclose major glaring and ad-hoc systems implemented by the Police in the issue of curfew passes. It is patently clear that no specific guidelines have been laid down by Police Headquarters on the issue of curfew passes, and unfettered discretionary powers given to OICs have resulted in ad-hoc measures being implemented. What is the rationale adopted by the OIC, Thalangama, in issuing a curfew pass to an electrician and denying one to a CEO of an export-oriented Company?

Secondly, it appears that the OIC has overstepped his limits by admonishing Dr.S.O. that he should desist from working by giving a chance to youngsters. This irresponsible utterance is totally unwarranted and outside the purview of the OIC. CEOs of all reputed export-oriented companies are highly literate, proficient in information technology, and they are compelled to visit their plants and Head Office once in a way, whenever the circumstances demand their physical presence in the workplace; for which he/she has a legitimate right to apply for a curfew pass. Majority of the high-profile CEOs, in the blue-chip companies, banking and manufacturing sectors, are now septuagenarians and are the live-wire of the companies that generate billions of foreign exchanges to the national coffers, unlike the manual electricians. It is unfortunate the OIC lacked the maturity and wisdom to distinguish the two cases on their own merits.

Besides, the national economy should not be made to suffer on account of the coronavirus, and it is because of this the government has decided to deploy tea pluckers on tea plantations, and farmers on paddy and chena cultivations. With the lockdown of India across the board, there would be a shortage of essential commodities and the government’s initiative to galvanize local production must be commended.

Lastly, the OIC’s admonition that Dr. S.O should keep off from work because of his age, should be equally applicable to the President, Prime Minister, other legislators, Secretary to the Ministry of Defense, Governor of the Central Bank, and a plethora of politicians who have recently been appointed to the Statutory Boards and Corporations by the government. In all fairness, would the authorities fall in line with the candid opinion of the OIC, Thalangama, if it is the thinking of the government?



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