Sharmila Seyyid  writer author of Ummath Novel, feminist and activist was summoned to the police station yesterday.

Sharmila Seyyid  writer author of Ummath Novel, feminist and activist was summoned to the police station yesterday. Two police officers visited her home the previous day and said the OIC wanted to speak to her.

When we arrived at the Police station and met the OIC he asked her in Sinhala whether she had any connection with National Thawheed Jamath. She said she doesn't understand his question but she has been critical in her writing about extremist and fundementalist groups within the Muslim community.

The OIC pulled out a book and read from an internal memo. The memo read that the Police has received information that Sharmila's life was under threat. The OIC went on to advice her to leave her residence as soon as she can or try to claim asylum in a different country. None of this was helpful as Sharmila has a family and she can't move as and when she wanted. The OIC said he understands but he cannot provide her with police protection so he doesn't see any other way than for her to move.

As a citizen of this country I was baffled. We pay tax to make civil institutions like the Police to provide us protection. If Ministers and MPs can have more than one officer to give protection why can't the people of this country be afforded the same protection? Am I paying my money so that a group of people who is responsible for this current crisis protect themselves while we live in fear?

Having said this as a person who has worked with the police I understood what the OIC was saying. Over the years successive Governments have strengthened the Military but have underfunded the police a civil institution  which has the primary function of protecting civilians, so much so that once a Police Officer told me 'you want us to catch the thief but we are given vehicles which do not run without someone pushing it from behind. By the time the vehicle runs the thief also has run away'.

We are living in a country where there is enough resources to hype security for a handful of incompetent men but none to protect us -the people whom they are supposed to be working for.

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