14th July 1996

The Jungle Telegraph

By Alia

Intelligence circles are buzzing with report of an emissary LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, has sent to Kabul, Afghanistan.

They say that the man, whose identity is known, has already had a meeting with Gulubuddin Hekmetyar, the Afghan leader and asked for assistance in the form of military hardware. They say the man's return is now being awaited.

Talking of the LTTE, remember one of its front line political leaders of the past years, Yogi?

Donning striped fatigues and sporting a Czechoslovak CZ 85 automatic pistol across his waist, he was one of those who arrived at the Air Force grounds in a Bell 412 helicopter when late President, Ranasinghe Premadasa invited the LTTE for peace talks.

Yogi was sidelined, later arrested and incarcerated in a "prison" for "disloyalty to the leader". He was suspected of complicity with Prabhakaran's erstwhile deputy, Mahattaya, who has since been executed.

Yogi was thereafter "rehabilitated" and assigned to an LTTE "psy ops" wing in the former LTTE held Jaffna town.

Now comes the news of a wedding in the Wanni. On May 18, 1996, Yogi was allowed by the leadership to marry a young girl, who was widowed by the death of her husband, a Tiger guerrilla.

If the ongoing crackdown on Tiger guerrillas was upper most in the minds of some of Colombo's leading entrepreneurs, the prolonged power cuts only went to exacerbate their feelings.

This undoubtedly was why one of them chose to promptly give six generators. It was his wish that they be used for the most noble cause treating the wounded in medical centres close to the conflict areas.

Now comes the news that the generators have still not left for their final destinations.

They are in the homes of six different persons who apparently cannot endure the power cuts in the comfort of their homes.

Interestingly the big bosses are till unaware of this power game with generators.

He is neither a butcher nor a surgeon but the man in khaki has been conferred dubious title - Cutter - for making a mess of the celebrated watering hole of top rungers, an inheritance from colonial masters.

From the days of yore, this watering hole has been a jealously guarded precincts with the mighty teak trees providing not only shelter but also a certain ambience.

Infuriated colleagues say Cutter had ordered a virtual deforestation of the area. "What took 50 and 60 years to grow has been brought down in a matter of five to six minutes," remarked one of them.

One of the most affected is a lady in uniform . She complained bitterly that she had no use any more for her clothes line. The trees that concealed them were no longer there.

Perhaps she was worried passers-by would know her vital statistics. Above all, they can now see not only the mess but also what goes on inside a mess.

The colleagues now want to tell the boss to call a halt to the "anti environment" trade of Cutter. "The next thing, he might tear off the curtains," said one of them wryly.

Wire taps of journalists and politicians, both in opposition and the ruling party, has been making news in the past week.

Insiders say more sophisticated equipment have just arrived from an European capital. They can not only reach far out of the City but also have state of the art electronic features. No wonder it takes foreign experts to connect the system and ensure some voice activated mechanisms are in working order.

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