Letters to the Editor


Peace, yes, but with dignity
It is fervently hoped by all concerned citizens, particularly those who have lost their loved ones in the battle front and other hapless victims of LTTE brutality, that peace will be a reality.

It is appropriate to dwell on some of the dissenting opinions regarding the ceasefire agreement and on the fallacies and myths regarding the alleged strength of the LTTE; its discipline and its much-bragged-about invincibility as a fighting force. The ordinary citizens of Jaffna, are worse off in many ways now than they were before these self-styled freedom fighters - the Tamil Tigers - bared their fangs nearly 20 years ago.

The mobility of the Jaffna man has been drastically curtailed; his movements being controlled by both the legitimate forces as well as the now internationally condemned LTTE terrorists. It is not possible for these unwitting victims to traverse freely in their area.

It is time and money consuming for them to see the rest of the country, including those areas claimed by the LTTE as traditional homelands.

It is an undeniable fact that the LTTE has mastered the art of mining and the skill of manufacturing grenades, bombs, explosive devices and other death dealing explosives. It has, on the other hand, also taken the heart and pride of the Jaffna citizens, by the near suppression of facilities for education and professionalism in the peninsula.

Their children are being abducted, kidnapped or conscripted and brainwashed to join the LTTE killing forces. In addition, the LTTE is reportedly levying taxes and extorting money from selected residents in Jaffna and from others. It is necessary to place these facts before the LTTE and the Norwegian brokers.

We require peace - the wish of a preponderant majority as evidenced at the recent local elections.

We must achieve this with honour and dignity, preserving the total sovereignty of our beloved country. We must not lose sight of the wood for the trees, by giving too much importance to the alleged violations of the ceasefire agreement, but instead concentrate on the larger vision, that of maintaining our territorial integrity.

In this respect, it is our common prayer that Prime Minister Ranil Wickrem-esinghe succeeds in his endeavour.

We cannot afford to lose any more lives.
B. J. Karunatileka

Protest against flesh export
I agree with the voter's letter headlined "Ministers are dodging" that appeared in a recent issue of The Sunday Times.

From what we hear, Minister S. B. Dissanayake is too busy poring over the world "fauna" list to see what else he can include in his ever expanding killing list of species to torment, slaughter and market flesh to bolster the economy of this "Buddhist" land.

According to Buddhism, harming or destroying living beings is the most certain way to destroying oneself. The only project that was launched by the PA regime and is continuing still is the "export of flesh". What has the blood money brought this country? Is our land to be further ravaged by the un-Buddhistic practices of the present regime, as well?

As for the Buddha Sasana Minister, if he comes to office only at nightfall, it must be to escape from his ministerial nightmares than for any proper work.

It is incredible how our Buddhists, nationalists, and animal lovers also slumber with no word of protest!
Lionel S. de Mel
Colombo 7

Enforce animal welfare laws strictly
A lorry meant for 30 bulls was loaded with 95 animals. They were being transported for slaughter but a special squad managed to nab the culprits, according to a news report.

The culprits were a resident of Anuradhapura and two butchers from Colombo.

The police led by SSP Lucky Peiris charged them with cruelty to animals. The wrongdoers were fined Rs. 1,500 each and the animals were released for slaughter.

The law they say is an ass. The awful crime of transporting 95 in a lorry meant for 30 animals is unpardonable. The punishment is too lenient and inadequate to serve as a deterrent.

The Police should investigate and take maximum action to prevent further criminal acts against innocent animals.

If they are stolen animals, the culprits should also be charged with theft.

In this case, they did not have a permit which made them flee the Police. The Police should also check the veterinary certificate to ensure the animals are fit for slaughter.

We appeal to the IGP to instruct his staff to enforce animal welfare laws strictly.

Gal Gava Mithuro

Private bus service should be put on right track
The private bus service has become a menace on the road. Neither the passengers nor the other users of the roads are safe. They break every rule in the book and fail to fulfil the obligations expected of a bus service.

They do not operate buses after dusk and early morning even on working days. During these times, the CTB has to come to the rescue of commuters. After the Sinhala/Tamil New Year and similar festivals, they do not operate for days. Besides, there is always the threat of a bus strike.

The relevant ministers and the National Transport Commission do not seem to have succeeded in checking their activities and bringing some order to the service. Even the law enforcement authorities appear to be helpless.

The private bus operators associations are either unwilling or incapable of controlling their members. These associations have failed to get bus crews even to issue tickets to passengers. Negotiating with the government for higher bus fares and other concessions appears to be their only achievement.

In the meantime, the state-owned bus service is losing millions of rupees monthly owing to the various tactics used by the private bus operators to monopolise the transport service.

At least 90 percent of these problems emanate from individual ownership of private buses. We should urge the bus owners to form limited liability companies for each route in place of the present associations and assign the operation of the service on each route to the CTB or one of the private bus companies. Those companies that fail to maintain a satisfactory service could be handed over to other companies.

This could perhaps bring some sanity to the bus service and relief to the CTB and the travelling public.
G. Dharmawardhana

Drop in discipline
Recent newspaper reports said that a group of students took pistols to schools to threaten fellow students. Another report said senior students allegedly raped a schoolgirl of the same school. The most disturbing incident was when a love-struck schoolboy stabbed a girl to death.

Fifty years ago, such things were not even thought of by schoolchildren.

These incidents demonstrate the depths to which discipline in schools has plummeted.

In the afternoons, boys gather at bus-stands to cast indecent remarks at girls, even if they are accompanied by their parents. Things are worse after private tuition classes.

During the annual celebrations in a private tutory in Ratnapura recently, boys and girls had taken liquor and misbehaved

Tough measures should be taken to arrest this serious decline in discipline.
P.A. Binduhewa

Fly special at UDA rest house
I refer to a reader's letter that appeared in The Sunday Times of May 27. On that same day, I went for lunch to a famous and beautifully located rest house in the heart of Kurunegala town.

The scenic beauty of the place remains. But, the UDA rest house now managed by a private party has gone to the dogs!

The rest house was full of flies which settled on the food before one could start eating.

Food is not prepared well and the meat and fish seemed stale. Fried chillies and dried fish were burnt black.

The UDA should supervise these rest houses and take action against the management. Their permits should be cancelled, if there is no improvement. Municipal authorities should take action against eating houses that are a health hazard.
A Senior Citizen

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