White flags still flutter, the Nolimit store where it all happened is boarded up and a huge white banner of condolences hangs outside.
Nugegoda is at the best of times a suburban paradise for shoppers. My plumber cum electrician once said “ Only thing you can’t buy in Nugegoda is your mum and dad.”
I had avoided this junction for almost a week, intentionally and I am sure most others would have done so or ventured out carefully. Yesterday, (12/5) I went early – 6:15 am to be precise, hoping that no cops will be around. This time I was armed with my camera but the unforgettable “Shaken not Stirred” episode well in my mind I was a bit nervous. . People were already streaming into the bus stand.
Exactly a week after the Nugegoda bomb, last Wednesday (12/5) another bomb on the road side tore through a crowded passenger bus as it traveled along the heavily guarded Padaviya-Sripura road at Kebethigollawa killing 16 civilians and wounding another 22.
So LTTE is back to claymore and suicide bombings and we are back to life in the 90’s pre CFA days and for quite a number the fear psychosis is back too. Your mouth does go a little dry when stuck in traffic, specially when STF guys whizz pass with rifles cocked up.
Last Tuesday (12/4)re the bomb scare delayed as many as five trains scheduled for Sri Lankan capital Colombo in the morning rush hour. It was an unattended bag that caused the bomb scare at a key station.
And the bag had killer stuff alright but not the explosive kind – it contained a cobra and a python and belonged to a local gypsy ( rodiya) who earns his living showing the cobra and python. The owner had gone off for a dram – as they say here – a tot of local illicit brew, leaving the bag at the station between Colombo and the central hilly town of Kandy.
In a surprising turn of events The Supreme Court ruled that the erection of permanent barriers on public roads as done at check points was not permitted by any law in the country. The undoing was by a lone fighter V.I.S. Rodrigo from good old Panadura –bless his cotton socks – who filed a fundamental rights petition against the Kirulapone Police personnel.
SC rules on Check Points
The Supreme Court [SC] said“Check Points” are only harassing us poor law abiding folk. S.C. judgement said “Check points have not deterred terrorists.” This no doubt will be a moot point.
Several check points were deserted yesterday after Police abandoned them after the SC ruling. However, I saw military personnel (not the Police) stopping vehicles and checking identities this morning at random but away from check points.
“The government is now in a dilemma as it has to obey the law and at the same time protect civilians from bomb explosions in the city,” Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane said. The military said following the court ruling it had removed all permanent barriers within the Colombo city.
“Based on the court ruling, we started removing barriers that hamper normal traffic flow on the road, not the entire checkpoint,” military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said.
He said the checkpoints would function as usual, but there would be no barriers as earlier
Raed more on the Daily Mirror ‘s article today (12/6/07) said:
“Chief Justice said that waging war against the State is the severest of offences punishable with death and that the members of the Armed Forces called out by the President in terms of the Public Security Ordinance have the fullest power to maintain public order and to take action against those who are waging war and committing other related offences.
“He observed that however when action is directed against persons who are not thus engaged in war and committing related offences, every precaution and safeguard has to be taken to minimise the resultant hardships. “
“He [CJ] emphasised that the Police and the members of the Armed Forces have to bear in mind firmly that they don the uniform and bear weapons only as a permitted by law; to uphold the law and to respect secure and advance the fundamental rights declared in the Constitution. “He further observed that an obstruction of a public road which is not for the maintenance or repair is clearly not warranted by any law and that the illegal erection virtually mobile police stations partly obstructing public roads have been done by officials whose duty it is to uphold the law in flagrant violation of the law itself as noted in the judgment.”