Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Kamal Gunaratne urged the public to give the law enforcement officers time for the arrest of MP Rishad Bathiudeen, assuring that he would be arrested very soon.
“When we look at social media, the Government is attacked and criticized.
The President is targeted and the Police and Defence Ministry, including the Defence Secretary are being targeted and blamed. However, these people who are attacking and criticizing us are also citizens of this country. Perhaps they are disturbed that the arrest of Bathiudeen has been delayed or they may be worried about their safety and that of the country,” he said.
However, the Defence Secretary added that while their concerns are understandable, there is a mechanism that needs to be followed by the police in making these arrests. “In Rishad Bathiudeen’s case he was to be arrested but unfortunately, the news of his pending arrest was announced to the media and the media announced in to the public.”
He said that the procedure was for the CID to record a statement from Bathiudeen and arrest him subsequently. “However, once the news of his pending arrest was broadcast, he went into hiding and now his lawyers have filed a writ application. Even though the police department is capable, that does not mean that they can find anyone who decides to hide from them, in a matter of hours or days. It is only two days since the order to arrest him was issued and although the process may take some time, people need to be patient. We don’t want to show any mercy to Bathiudeen or his associates, but we must ensure justice to the victims. We will find him, but give us time,” he urged.
When a person is in hiding he will not make himself available to be arrested by the authorities, said Maj.Gen. Gunaratne, adding that invariably he will be on the run evading arrest. “Perhaps he has a safe house or maybe shifting from place to place. Since he is a politician who commands some vote base, he may even have followers ready to provide him facilities to hide,” the Defence Secretary noted. “However, we are doing our best and I am confident we will be able to get him very soon.”
(Source: Daily News – By Camelia Nathaniel)