6th July 1997

The Jungle Telegraph

By Alia

Billion Dollar question

The news, if true, would have thrilled the hearts of every peace loving Sri Lankan. The war was going to be over. No more bombs, no more killings and no more threats.

All because the LTTE big boss, V. Prabhakaran, the headlines declared, was fleeing Sri Lanka.....maybe for asylum in Laos, Kampuchea or Burma !!

The story was not altogether a concoction. A source said it. But how reliable it was is a billion dollar question.

They say it may even be psy ops.

But the political boss, just like one of his few predecessors, phoned in the press by the lake and wanted the story run in banner headlines. So it was.

But another political boss is not so happy. He came in with a refreshing thrust to re establish credibility. But there seems to be counter offensives even in that too. What a pity !

‘Missen’ impossible?

Navy Headquarters was aghast over last Tuesday’s reported LTTE attack on passenger ferry “Missen”, assigned to operate from Pesalai (in Mannar) to Kankesanthurai (in Jaffna). They say the Northern Area Command under whose operational area the incident occurred was unaware of it until Navy Headquarters made inquiries.

Questions are now being asked whether more attention is now being paid to piloting ships than securing the areas under the northern area command.

Director of Astrology

Though it is not his official job, our man in uniform was conferred a dubious title - Director of Astrology and Palmistry by his amused colleagues. Well, he knew the two subjects much better than his formal responsibilities. He was well adept at checking horoscopes of bosses and finding auspicious hours for practically everything, from wearing hush puppies, playing tennis to flying out. The names and addresses of palmists, psychics, “anjanam eli karayas” and even the “hooniyam boys” were at his finger tip. So much so, he knew whom to turn to for each task.

But the assignment he received last week seemed somewhat inauspicious for him. He was to do some psy ops on a group of selected scribes - have their phones and homes kept under surveillance to find out who is leaking, I mean, information.

At least one tough cop reminded him that such orders can come only from the Commander-in-Chief and that too for matters endangering national security.

The poor fellow may have lost the chance of a field promotion. But who knows. There are many schols round the corner.

The scribes will still have to be aware. The “kattadiyas” will not turn him down !!

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