5th Column

The state of the state minister

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My dear ‘Miris Kudu’ Prasanna,

I thought I should write to you when I saw that you were in the news again, this time for assaulting a worker at the airport. At first many thought it must be some kind of joke because ministers are not supposed to go around assaulting people in that manner, but then we all got to see the CCTV footage.

On second thoughts, though, there was no reason to be surprised at all. We shouldn’t have expected anything more from you (or anything less, depending on how you look at this) given your past track record, especially when you are certain that you won’t face any consequences for what you do.

You have been suspended from sittings in Parliament, engaged in fisticuffs with the late Palitha and tried to snatch the mace and run away. Your crowning glory was during that infamous and illegal constitutional coup by Aiyo Sirisena. That was when you became known as ‘Miris Kudu’ Prasanna.

In fact, that allowed us to differentiate between the two ‘Prasanna R’s from Gampaha, ‘Kappam’ Prasanna and ‘Miris Kudu’ Prasanna. Few people realise that two years before ‘Kappam’ Prasanna was appointed as the Government Whip, you were appointed as Assistant Government Whip!

After last week’s incident when it was not exactly known to the media who was involved, you denied the assault at first. It was when CCTV footage emerged that you confessed, knowing you couldn’t really pretend it was not you. Still, you must have thought a vehement denial was worth a try.     

If I were to give you one piece of advice, Prasanna, that is to keep away from the cameras, even though we know politicians find it difficult to resist them. The ‘miris kudu’ incident which brought shame to the entire country was captured on camera. Now, so has the incident at the airport.

When it was proved beyond any reasonable doubt that it was you who assaulted the employee, you went on the offensive. You said you did so because the fees charged by those who assisted with your wife’s baggage were ‘exorbitant’ and you were doing so on behalf of the thousands who use the airport.

So, in your crusade against this gross injustice, you literally took matters into your own hands and assaulted the worker. Being a typical ‘pohottuwa’ type through and through, you must have thought that you should play the roles of complainant, judge, jury and executioner all by yourself.

We saw that you didn’t assault the employee where the incident occurred. You took him to another location and did so. You told us that you didn’t want to do so in public. While you were assaulting him, were you thinking of safeguarding his reputation? Or, was it to avoid the CCTV cameras?

Afterwards, you took to social media to justify your actions and provide explanations. You were literally adding insult to injury. On the other hand, when the victim went to the Police to complain, he was initially told it couldn’t be done. I suppose that is not your problem, that would be Deshabandu’s.

I am beginning to wonder what is wrong with those who are chosen by the people of Kelaniya. They elected the quick-tempered Sarath and Mervyn. Like you, Mervyn also believed in delivering instant justice. Once, he stormed into the offices of Rupavahini, got bathed in red paint and was booted out.

Mervyn’s best stunt was to tie a government official to a tree. Later, we heard that chap tell us that he tied himself to a tree to set an example to others, such were Mervyn’s persuasive powers. I won’t be surprised, Prasanna, if that airport employee tells us next week that he slapped himself!

Tiran was upset when someone shouted at the airport about visa issues. He wanted him questioned. If you think he will be more upset after you assaulted an employee, you need not be. As the highest court in the land observed recently, some are more equal than others before the law in Paradise.

If you look at your ‘pohottuwa’ colleagues and think carefully, you will realise that having some kind of criminal tendency is almost a qualification to become a state minister. We had the late Sanath who, like you, led any kind of mob attack and rowdy behaviour, be it in Parliament or Galle Face.

Then we have Choka Malli, convicted of murder and attending Parliament before he was acquitted on appeal. Mind you, the person he was accused of murdering was supporting Aiyo Sirisena’s and Uncle Ranil’s election campaign for ‘Yahapalanaya’. Now, he is a state minister under Uncle Ranil.

The same goes for young Lohan. He too was charged with murder at Udalatalawinna but acquitted. Those who died were from Rauff’s party which supported Uncle Ranil at that election. After improving his CV by threatening prisoners, Uncle Ranil has appointed him state minister of Mahaveli.

Then there is illegal immigrant Diana, the tourist without a visa who became state minister for Tourism. With such state ministers, you need not worry, Prasanna. Why, even in a worst-case scenario, you can always get the Mahanayake hamuduruwo to ask for a pardon for you this Vesak season!

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS- Gota maama made many mistakes. However, he got one decision right. When he allocated state ministers, he appointed you state minister for Rattan, Brass, Pottery, Furniture and Rural Industrial Promotion. That was when you got the name you so deserve: ‘Meti Prasanna’. How right he was!