Odds and Ends
Old soldiers never die
This happened some years ago, but the story has only just begun to do the rounds. A top-brass Army officer turned Sri Lankan envoy was posted for a stint in an Asian country that had an extra-strong military aura. No doubt inspired by the national ambience, our man out there would occasionally don his beloved military uniform and drive to work. The locals must have been intrigued, wondering whether the Sri Lankan soldier was on duty on their soil.
W. J. S. Karunaratna, one-time secretary to former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, recently ended his term as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canada. While packing up to return, the envoy suddenly discovered that two of his domestic aides from back home had done the “vanishing trick”. Investigations are under way to locate the missing persons.
MP Wimal Weerawansa stood up briefly in Parliament on Friday to raise the issue of escalating attacks on civilians by the LTTE. While condemning the attacks, he ridiculed the extreme security measures some government ministers and MPs were adopting to ensure their safety. “There are some who, even if they went to Kilinochchi wouldn’t be touched by Prabhakaran, but here in Colombo they go around with full military escort as if the LTTE had nothing better to do than ambush them!” he said.
The waiting game
Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who recently visited India to attend a seminar in Srinagar, happened to be travelling on a tourist visa. At the airport, the ex-President was kept waiting for more than four hours until the purpose of her visit was cleared. To someone known for keeping others waiting, the experience must have been something of a revelation.
Hands off, she said
UNP’s Anuradhapura district MP Chandrani Bandara raised a privilege issue in Parliament on Thursday, alleging she was abused by the acting OIC of the Bambalapitiya Police when she was taking part in last Tuesday’s UNP protest campaign. She claimed the OIC had opened the door of her vehicle and pulled her by her hand, even after she had identified herself as an MP. Her complaint triggered a round of comments from the House. One backbencher was heard to say: “You can’t blame the OIC for wanting to hold your hand!”
Battling the evil eye
A nervous UNP politico, Sarathchandra Rajakaruna, recently felt compelled to call in a kattadiya from Matara to conduct a thovila on the Parliament premises.
The reason is that seven MPs have died since the beginning of the year, and Mr. Rajakaruna believes the Evil Eye is firmly fixed on a group of government MPs who placed a funerary wreath before the Opposition Leader at the end of last year’s budget debate. One of his main concerns is that four of the deceased are from the Gampaha district. He too hails from the same area.