It's nice to get a feel for a place by looking at what is important through the eyes of law and order. South Asia always has some fascinating stuff produced as Mr Plod does his rounds and finds himself in the pages of newsprint. Sri Lanka is no different to any other part of the region.
Of course the war, and it's conclusion, (if there ever is such a thing as a conclusion to war) remains a constant focus of activity. A handgrenade here, an AK47 there, ammunition in bushes or wells still actract the attention of the constabulary but now of course these things have less lethal implications. Life is becoming more normal, less tense and people can be interested in the other things that happen around them. So setting war remenants aside the police scene is becoming more normal, bizare, interesting!
The New Year (Avurudhu) festivities have just passed and like all festival times there is opportunistic crime. A family, father, mother and teenage son were returning home from the hill country. During their Avurudhu visits to family and friends father was applied with alcholic libations. He was unable to resist the tempation to "heat his liver" and so by mid afternoon was constantly under fire from his unhappy wife and clearly needed a nap. They stopped in a village to rest, all happily snoozing in the car on the side of the road.
However once revived they found mother's handbag, cash, phone and jewelery gone! They rushed to the police station and lodged a complaint. However the best they got was a promise to "look into" the matter and a dressing down by a senior officer who declared "it such a shame that a father should cut such a pathetic a figure in front of his own son".
But sons are not always the victims. One poor ("46 year old" which I presume is important) mother was forced to complain to police about her "Randy Son". He, at a mere 21 had living with a "cabaret dancer who performs in night clubs" the tearful mother complained to the police. Worse, she was a widow and had started the relationship with this poor, unfortunate bachelor boy. He obviously found the comforts of a young, experienced dancer much to his liking and shifted out from home taking some of his mother's saris for his lover perhaps in a vain attempt at an aedopus complex. The police acted quickly on this occaision and called all parties together in the hope of reuniting an (aged) mother with her (randy) son and getting him to abandon the dancing harlot. To date they have had no sucess - now that's odd!
Some unlucky chaps don't fair so well. A women, with three children in tow, lodged a complaint with the police about here husband. He was a member of a leading band and very popular. He had as a result the demands of his audience and fans, neglected his family and was carrying on with another woman. The woman's husband and lover were both sumonsed to attend the police station. Woman one outlined the sad damage to her happy family while woman two started crying having been mislead by the musician who had claimed to be a bachelor! How strange - this could never happen in the West; a musician lie and root around!
The police officer, taking his duty seriously told the wife to take back her husband and start again, told the mistress to forget the past and begin a moral life and the bandsman to behave himself. The women, quite rightly said "no way, get fucked, fuck-off" or words to that effect. The "crestfallen man with the golden voice" said to the counselling copper I will give up my past ways and "lead the rest of my life singing and strumming my guitar and entertaining people." That is of course until the next fan offers to strum his guitar and let him entertain her!
Surprisingly the police while taking their duty very intently have not proven to effective. A woman whose husband had complain to the police about her running off with another man called them into the station only to find the paramour had since dumped the young lady for someone else. The police sagely advised the woman return to her husband and "lead a good life". She apparently has chosen to heed this suggestion.
And indeed it may not be too hard to find such people as police were shocked recently to find women "loitering" in the town at dusk. On a tip off they managed to arrest "women of easy virtue" who had been hanging around places such as banks, offices and bus stops during the day and shock horror bars and "gambling joints" after dark! Apparently they had come to town to take advantage of the festival celebrations.
On a sadder note a man, a loser in love's war, was found to have died due to an accident. He had strung a length of rope to a tree branch on the bank of a river from which he planned to hang himself for his (ex)lover to see. Unfortunately the fellow was far from a boy scout and the all important knot failed dumping him into the river. Not able to swim the lad drowned. The Coroner rightly declared the deaf to be accidental as he had intended to hang himself but failed and drowned by the concequent accident. A Darwin Award winner for the future I suspect!
Not all things are as well thought through perhaps. An abortion clinic was raided this week after they had received information that illegal abortions were being performed. In itself this is not particularly strange; what was strange was the report "[the police] took a foetus into custody." "We are waiting for the Judicial Medical Officer's report" a police spokesman said " and legal action would be taken thereafter". I imagine the report is not about the foetus's capacity to respond to charges.
But on a happy note parents who reported an "abuction" when their 22 year old daughter eloped with her boyfriend were reunited at a police station after the cops nailed the lovers. While the parents fumed it was discovered the two had been legally married and so there was nothing to be done. The police reported with some satisfaction that despite the family opposition to the affair "knowledge of the marriage" meant everyone left happily.
That's one to the sleuths!