‘Curfew saves thousands of people’ | Sunday Observer

‘Curfew saves thousands of people’

Senior D I G Ajith Rohana
Senior D I G Ajith Rohana

The country has avoided the deaths of thousands of people by imposing a curfew in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana said.

He said that certain people claimed that the curfew was illegal and that it should come under the Public Security Ordinance.

“Some said public security includes health security,” he said, arguing that this is not the case as stated in the Constitution, 15 (7).

“By this, they attempted to put the people back into the streets. What would have happened then? There would be mountains of bodies, like in Italy, Spain and America. You would have seen soldiers keeping bodies in army trucks for days till bodies were burnt,” he said, drawing attention to how the three nations struggled to dispose of the bodies of Covid-19 victims.

He said those who pose as human rights activists saying the curfew was illegal expected destruction in the country and then laugh at it.

“They wanted to say that a nation was wiped out, that it could not be controlled, that the health sector and the Government failed,” he said, adding that a clear answer to this was given by the Gampaha Magistrate who ruled that the curfew was legal.

The senior DIG said that when there is a health crisis in the country, or a pandemic, laws used for terrorism cannot be applied.

“That is why we have quarantine laws,” he added.

Citing India as an example, he said that during its 21-day lockdown declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the same quarantine laws introduced by the colonial rulers were used to keep people at home and ensure their safety.

“Now those who said the curfew was illegal, would be sad that only nine died and thousands were saved by imposing the curfew. As officials we are proud that we saved thousands of people,” he said.

The UNP, JVP and TNA Parliamentarians from time to time made statements to the media criticising the Government for imposing an islandwide curfew to mitigate the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. They said that the curfew imposed under the quarantine laws of the country was arbitrary and illegal.