Date Month 1996

The Jungle Telegraph

By Alia

The Sri Lanka Air Force laid out a very impressive “air show” for a VIP audience recently. Though it was not like the famed Britain’s Farnborough air show it had its own thrills and spills not to mention the plenty of excitement.

Some of the highlights were how the SLAF’s show piece fleet of fighting machines - the MI 24 helicopter gunships, Kfir interceptor jets, Pucara and Siai Marchetti bombers took on ‘enemy’ targets in a set piece battle area in Kalpitiya where there is a sprawling field firing range. Bombs rained and ‘enemy bases’ exploded into pulp.

Among the invitees for the event were the Commanders of the Army, Navy, the Inspector General of Police and top Defence Ministry officials.

The host - the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Oliver Ranasinghe would have been most delighted at the spectacular display but for one serious snag.

The visitors came on time and were staring in to the airspace for well over one and half hours. No SLAF aircraft was in sight. Of course they arrived later to smash up the ‘enemy positions.’

One wag in uniform was heard to make the uncharitable remark that “this happens in operational areas too. We ask for help and they arrive late.” Of course during times of real action, the demands on the SLAF are much heavier and consequently most urgent calls receive priority over others. But what caused the delay in a demo planned for several weeks?

Needless to say that the senior officer responsible for making arrangements, one among eight in the chain of command, was marched before the Commander to be severely reprimanded.

Deepavali shock

A senior police officer who was celebrating Deepavali on November 10 was in for a rude shock. He as visiting relatives in Bambalapitiya on this festive occasion when he and his hosts heard a knock on the door.

They opened it to find a posse of policemen demanding to see the Householder’s list. The senior officer politely asked the visiting cops the reason for the visit. They explained they were under orders to take into custody any person whose name was not in the Householder’s list. Fortunately there was none in that particular household.

The cops were apologetic and said they were embarrassed to be involved in that task on Deepavali Day but had to carry out their duties.

Imagine the fate of those who chose to make a Deepavali visit to a relative or friend!.

Return to the Editorial/Opinion contents page