30th June 2002, Volume 8, Issue 50

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Reckless driving claims two sisters

By Marianne David and Hemamala Wickremage

In a cruel twist of fate, two little  girls were snatched away from this  world due to the carelessness of a bus driver last week. The two little girls, 10 year old Lakmini Wathsala Kumari and six year old Anusha Udayangani Kumari had gone to nearby boutique with a relation, R.M. Piyasena, to buy a few buns.

According to Piyasena, on the day of the accident the two girls had waited for their father to return home. He had gone out to buy wood and cement for the new house he was building.

"The girls' father and I came back around 4:30 in the evening. Since Anusha kept asking her father for buns, he asked the elder girl, Wathsala to go to the boutique up the road. I took the two girls on my motorbike and dropped them off near the boutique. Then I went further down that road to a shop to buy some cigarettes" said Piyasena.

When the two girls were in the boutique, a bus, its tyre having burst, had crashed into the fence a few metres away and kept on coming straight at them. The bus which came to a halt after having run into the two little girls and crashed into a lamp-post, had also uprooted a Mara tree in its way.

Wathsala died on the spot but little Anusha was still alive and able to talk. They were then rushed to the Wariyapola hospital. From there, with saline bottles attached to her, Anusha was rushed to the Kurunegala hospital in a private van because there was no ambulance available.

This van was hit by another bus near the Negombo Road, where Anusha's saline tubes were torn off due to the force of the impact. She was then rushed to the hospital in a three-wheeler. Even after this, she was able to talk and her last words to her father, Nimal, had been, "Thaththe, api aayeth happuna neda?" (Father, we crashed again, didn't we?)

"Maybe little Anusha was destined to leave this world with her sister. Be it playing games or going to school, the two of them were together all the time. Wathsala was very loving towards her motherless little sister. She was really mature for her age," said one of the neighbours present at the funeral.

According to the two girls' cousin, Stella is seven months old and her mother Shantini Virginia is hugging her baby and staring into the hot sun outside. They are both seated outside. "My baby is too ill for me to join the queue. She needs a bed and I do not know at what time I can go home," said Shantini.

Today there are easily about 2,000 patients waiting, each one has a baby and no one is happy. "What can we do. Whether we like it or not, we have to come here," said a mother, trying to smile.

The parents are trying to understand. But these babies do not understand.

There is not a drop of water, not a thing to eat. Perhaps the best and most humane advertisement that any company can have is to give each person a drink of malted milk or a biscuit. It is the closest entry one can make to the human heart. But advertisements take other forms and the suffering continues. The best alms that one can give ought to be given here - something to eat for the children, something to drink for the children.

Whoever said that the Lady Ridgeway Hospital is one of the best hospitals in South Asia must have not seen this OPD. He must have definitely missed the drug dispensing section that is this dark hallway above where the Vesak decorations still rustle.

 The people inside this OPD pharmacy have their problems too. The ceiling is falling down from a side and it is hot inside. But at least they have three fans working, and the children have nothing. "The drugs are deteriorating due to the heat," said a hospital employee. "This is the place that ought to be airconditioned" he said.

But if ever there is a place that ought to be airconditioned in this hospital it is not the rooms of the directors - it is where the poor babies and their parents come and stay.

We walk inside into the OPD and the crying continues. Parents are seated on benches holding on to hot babies. Everyone is shocked. There is danger of infection but nobody cares. The children are all huddled together. Once is a way one sees a small arm or a leg struggling to get out of the crowd, but the majority of the children who are brought here are babies who are being carried.

"Most doctors at this hospital are in bad moods," said our photographer who had his child warded here a week ago. "You ask a question once and if you ask another, the doctor starts to yell at you. My child was warded here and received no treatment. I could not get any tests done and I had to ward him in a private hospital," he said.

Inside children were being given blood, but they were not lying in beds, they were lying on the floor. Worried parents stood by, too scared to talk, too worried about their babies to make a fuss.

Many of the people who come here are from far away places as Kurunegala, Tissamaharama, Anuradhapura, Batticaloa, Amparai etc., and they have no friends or relations here. They have little money and their children are ill.

If this is how the country's premier hospital for children handles a crisis, then there is much to be desired.  Obviously the officials do not seem to think this is a crisis situation.

If there is injustice, it is here. If there is suffering, it is here and if there is neglect, it is here.

And all this is inflicted upon the babies of the poorest section of our society.

What price health services?


The dying art of native medicine

By Risidra Mendis

An eye operation with the aid of a shoe flower stem or a medicine made out of porcupine spikes, ivory powder and leopard's nails would make most of us shiver in fright. But for some of us who still believe in native medicine and their amazing cures, those experienced veda mahaththayas still exist.

Away from the main road in Homagama is the house of A.M.A. Wijeratne Alagiyawanna, a well known veda mahaththaya. Patients from all over the country visit Alagiyawanna's house with the hope of finding a cure for their ailments. To Alagiyawanna the art of practicing native medicine was an inborn talent that has made him one of the most sought after veda mahaththayas in the country today.

Alagiyawanna's father who took over this ancient practice from his father, was also a famous veda mahaththaya many years ago. "In those days there were no shops to sell medicine and my father used to prepare the medication at home. While my father was treating patients and prescribing medicines I used to crawl in the garden and pick up aralu and nelli fruits brought for medicinal purposes and eat them. I suppose this was an indication that I would take over my father's business some day" Alagiyawanna said.

At the tender age of 12 Alagiyawanna having watched his father for many years, used to insist on mixing the herbs, fruits, and other ingredients needed for the medicine. "Even though my father never encouraged me to read his medicine books as I would neglect my studies I used to read on the sly as I had an interest in this type of medicine" Alagiyawanna said.

By the age of 15 Alagiyawanna had a good knowledge of his father's Veda Kama. "When I was 12 or 13 my father developed a problem in his hand and from then onwards I got involved in preparing the medicine for the patients. Due to my interest in this field I picked up very fast and thanks to my father have helped many patients solve their problems" Alagiyawanna said.

For the past 50 years Alagiyawanna has cured patients with ailments such as cataract, glaucoma, eye pressure, diabetes, catarrh and malnutrition among others. Seated at his house Alagiyawanna talked about his unforgettable memories while learning the tricks of the trade.

Having thought for a while Alagiyawanna began his story. "My father was treating Charlis Appuhamy for a white patch in his eye. After some time my father told Appuhamy he couldn't do anything more and the patient was left with a small white patch on one side of the eye. Appuhamy asked me if I could do anything about the patch. I told him if you can find me porcupine spikes, crushed leopard's nails, crushed wild boar horns and crushed elephant horn among others (totalling 23) that were required for the medicine I could try. Appuhamy brought me the ingredients and I made him the mixture. The solution worked and the patch on Appuhamy's eye dissappeared. That was the turning point in my career as a veda mahaththaya" Alagiyawanna said.

Appuhamy then wanted Alagiyawanna to start his own dispensary in Weliveriya. "Appuhamy supplied the furniture and I brought the medicine and this is how my Veda Kama was established" Alagiyawanna said.

Alagiyawanna then moved to Naththandiya in Marawila where he todate continues his practice.

"When my father practiced medicine the patients were provided shelter in the veda mahthaya's home, fed, clothed and looked after till the operation was complete and the veda kama was done free of charge which is why the veda mahathhaya was considered to be a respected person  in the comunity.  However due to the present circumstances patients cannot be kept at our homes and we have to charge a small fee" Alagiyawanna said.

According to Alagiyawanna a problem faced by many veda maththayas today is the scarcity of certain medicines and the ban imposed on ganja that is widely used for native medicine. "The Ayurveda Institution earlier provided ganja leaves for our use. But now we have to find it on our own which makes our practice a little difficult" Alagiyawanna said.

According to Alagiyawanna, native medicine was first introduced to the world by ancient philosophers who developed their intellectual minds to find cures to diseases faced by mankind.

Native medicine was introduced by the Maha Brahma in a book called the 'Srushshratha' that was divided into one lakh of shloka and 16 editions.

It has been recorded in ancient medical history that 6600  poems were listed in the Puskola books and over 4000 in medical books.   

Sadly however this art that has cured thousands the world over, even before the introduction of western medicine is now gradually dying out.

According to Alagiyawanna it is up to the government to encourage and preseve this valuable method of native medicine in Sri Lanka that will continue to cure many more in the future. 


Vattapalai Amman Temple: A place of myths,mysteries and miracles

This temple dedicated to  Kannaka Amman lies three  miles off the main road leading to Mullaitivu among swaying coconut palms. The Vailasi Pongal falls in the month of May or on a Monday when it is full moon. Legend has it that after the consecration of the shrine of Kannaki in South India, the deity visited Ceylon manifesting herself in 10 places where temples were built for the goddess. This last or tenth place was Paththas Palai (Paththam means tenth, Palai - means residence). In course of time the name has changed to Vattapalai.

The festival starts one week before the great pongal. The priest and the trustees of the temple  take a brass-pot accompanied by drums and templets, to the sea shore and dip it in the sea and fill it. Thereafter it is taken to the temple of Lord Ganesha in Mullawalai and kept there for a week.

On the day of the pongal this water is brought to the Amman Temple in the morning and a lamp is lit with the sea water instead of oil and it keeps burning the whole day and night.

The pongal ceremony itself is worth watching.

The brahmin priest blesses the event. The person who starts the pongal sits in front of the fire place and takes the pot on to his lap and using twine thread makes a network of it covering the pot, when this is done, the temple stewards take the pot and he stands up and receives it. Thereafter he goes into a trance, going round the fire place with the pot balanced precariously on one shoulder.

As he dances round the fire place supported by the stewards, some rice grains are put into his out stretched hand and he throws the grains upwards in each direction.

When asked the reason for it we were told that the grains are for the celestral companies of the Amman. Believe it or not even one grain didn't fall on the ground or on anybody's head for that matter. Once he puts the pot on the fire place the man becomes normal. This happens at midnight and milk rice sweetened with jaggery is cooked. Once the main pongal starts, devotees who have vowed to cook milkrice there, start their minor pongals in the sandy compound outside.

Fire walking and kavadi also take place there. The kavadi dancers dance in a frenzy to the quick rhythm of drums. The hanging (Thooku) kavadi where one or two persons are suspended by hooks from a crane is a wonder. In one instance a man was carrying his infant son to fulfil a vow.

This temple has a history of miracles too. When the writer was a government servant at Mullaitivu an incident that will make the sceptics think twice, happened. A prowler who had his eyes on the precious jewels of the deity had gone there.

He went to the hall where the pilgrims rest to see if anyone was around. The poosari's assistant was asleep there with a shawl covering his body. The prowler took the shawl and was on his way into one of the wadiyas built for carpenters. He then took off his shirt and hooked it on the fence, buried his wrist watch in the sand and made his way to the temple. He used the camphor to light the place.

He made quick work of it and keeping the box of jewels on the wall below the cave, came to the hut. As soon as he reached the wadiya he was struck blind. Later he is believed to have confessed that something white went over his eyes and he lost his sight, needless to say that when he was discovered with the shawl what would have happened to him. People flooded to see the thief. There was general excitement over the miraculous  deed of the Amman and faith grew stronger.

During the time Portuguese controlled the area people say that a certain general  used to mock and deride the devotees going to the temple.

Can your goddess perform miracles like our Lady of Miracles? He would taunt them. One day when he was riding past the temple arrogantly, a tree which they call Anickia Maram - which was beside the wall of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, shook so violently that the fruits from the tree fell out and pelted the general till he fell off the horse. It is said that to this day after that incident, the tree bore neither a flower nor a fruit.

To the believer no explanation is necessary. To the non believer no explanation is sufficient.

- Thilaka Vivekandan Wijeyratnam


Getting to the bottom of sexual harassment

By Nichol A. Hanson

 Hey sexy baby," young boys call out from a crowded bus window.

   "What do you think about sex?" questions a trishaw driver on my way to work one morning.  A very sophisticated looking businessman even thought that he would be smart by showing me his tongue in order to impress a group of his colleagues.  They were not impressed, in fact and needless to say, neither was I. 

Sexual harassment is an issue that is not only hurtful and annoying, but can create serious obstacles between sexes in any culture.  Schools, businesses, universities, and even places of religious worship are every day enacting tough policies to deal with this horrific cultural predicament.  The place where most of this harassing behaviour takes place however is sadly the places where everyone should feel the most comfortable, our streets, our communities, and even our homes.  Every woman that I spoke with feels the bruises of sexual harassment daily. Before any solutions to a depressing problem can be concluded, a cause must first become realised by society.  Where has this tiny seed that has been implanted inside the heads of so many all over the world  orginate from?  A better question to look at may be what issues cause these gender attitudes to remain in the year 2002. As the gender gap narrows, can there be an explanation for why people in all parts of the world are still slipping through? It seems impossible that sexual harassment policies could hold strong if cultural ideals towards gender roles remain.

I find it interesting that these beautiful Sri Lankan women would even entertain the thought that the way they dress actually makes them deserving of this blatant form of sexual harassment.  The way a woman wears her hair or the style of blouse she wears is not the cause of disrespectful behaviour.  I do not believe that there is a trigger that leads an individual to believe that he has the right to gawk at, bother, talk nasty, and even overtly verbally abuse a woman.  This negative behaviour is not generally facilitated by anything that a woman could possibly do or say.  These feelings of guilt that a woman possesses after being sexually harassed is the reason why so much rape, molestation, and sexual violence goes unreported. "When a boy yells something bothersome at me, I don't think to fight back sometimes, because I don't know why he said it to me and not another girl," proclaimed a 16-year-old female student at a Colombo school.

Since I have been in Sri Lanka my thoughts about this issue have undergone radical personal revelation.  My first notion was that my western style elicited this type of response, possibly facilitated by a less than moral standard of media portrayal of women in Europe and the States.  This was immediately proven wrong when I adapted my own attire to the skin covering style of Sri Lanka.I was still harassed.  So then I thought that due to terrorist activity, tourist levels have been low, and it must be the colour of my skin that brings such a strong reaction.  As I began to recount my frustrations to others, I found that this was also not the case, as my eastern lady friends were experiencing identical problems.  Then maybe, I am being harassed due to sexual aggression as a product of the "sexually moral" Sri Lankan community which nearly prohibits the coupling of opposite genders until marriage.  If people are frustrated and uninformed about the opposite sex, then this sexual aggressive behaviour could certainly be a backlash of community values, until I started noticing wedding bands on most of the harasser's fingers.  So among all of these theories, I am left with no real resolution, except that no matter how I adapt, the harassment continues. 

"While I teach, I am completely covered and act in an extremely professional manner, and on my walk home from work a young man actually reached out and grabbed me," voices a frustrated American student, volunteering in a Panadura school.  Young women are frustrated and fed-up with feeling as if they have brought on these negative reactions. 

"Sometimes my friends and I holler and try to gain the attention of girls on the streets just to look good in front of others," says a young Sri Lankan who wishes to remain nameless.  He continues on, ''I guess we never thought of how the girl felt about it."  This type of mentality is exactly what makes sexual harassment such a fierce problem.

A general disregard for the feelings of others in a community is an extremely disturbing attitude to take.  Especially in Colombo, a trend is occurring reducing differences that separate a man's and a woman's gender role within a community.  As these gender role definitions blur, my hope would be that sexual harassment would reduce greatly.  By looking within and finding the origin of our own ideas and attitudes about gender, a general regard for the opposite sex will be found and within this it will not be hard to at least think about the harm created before we act or speak in hurtful ways.


Gingili - little seeds of magic

These tiny but miraculous  seeds are consumed in  various forms throughout much of the world with the exception of the west where these are virtually unknown (except the miserly scattering atop a hamburger bun). Japanese would not consider sitting down to a meal without a ready supply of gomachco seeds ground with sea salt). In Africa, Asia, the Middle East and China, both the seeds and its oil are recognised as a valuable nutritious diet.

Gingili probably originated in Africa. It was cultivated in India before it reached the Mediterranean. In the first century gingili oil was exported from India to Arabia and Africa and thence to the Roman Empire.

There are black, yellow and red seeded varieties of gingili seeds. The seeds contain 44% to 57% of fat which has carotene, the linoleic acid content being about 45%.

One ounce (25gm) of roasted gingili (sesame) seed contain's 160.40 calories, 13.63gm of fat of which 5.15gm are monounsaturated, 5.98gm are polyunsaturated and 1.91gm are saturated fat. Carbohydrate content is 7.31gm, protein 4.82gm, crude fibre 2.41gm, vitamin A 0.8RE, thiamine 0.23mg, riboflavin 0.07mg, nicotinic acid 1.30mg, pantothenic acid 0.01mg, 0.23gm of vitamin B 6,27.88mg of calcium, 4.19mg of iron 2.03mg of zinc and 27.86mg of folic acid.

Small quantity of gingili seeds provides a monster degree of nutrition. As mentioned earlier just 25gm (one ounce) of whole roasted gingili seeds provides 160 calories (6% of adult allowance), supply nearly half the iron requirement (they contain more iron than beef liver) and one fifth of the zinc requirement. Although one ounce of roasted gingili provides 280.88mg of calcium (more calcium than any other common food), as the calcium is in the form of calcium oxylate, the body cannot make use of this calcium.

The gingili seeds have a surplus of the two essential amino-acids, methionine and tryptophan which are often lacking in popular protein foods.

Therefore a small sprinkling of gingili seeds greatly increases the usable protein in other foods such as dhal which is lacking in methionine.

Gingili seeds are high in vitamin E which acts as a preservative making them resistant to oxidation. Mechanically hulled seeds are superior to seeds processed by salt brine or by chemical bath. Salt processed seeds are very high in sodium and the chemically treated gingili develop a soapy flavour and loose much of its nutrition. Mechanically hulled seeds can be kept for several years and have a sweet taste and unlike the other varieties which have a glossy white appearance, mechanically hulled seeds have a dull matt appreance.

In view of the high content of heart healthy monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, gingili oil is recommended for heart patients who have elevated bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and low levels of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).

Gingili seeds roasted gently ( without using oil) can be used in limitless range of dishes including all kinds of salads; home made bread; home made bread; breakfast cereals; pies, casseroles and savoury bakes; stir-fried vegetables; on pasta dishes; a paste can be made from seeds as a substitute for butter. Gingili seeds are believed to have power of life and fertility and are said to stimulate the ovaries and hasten maturity.

"Thalaguli" which is made using a mixture of gingili seeds and jaggery is a very popular snack in Sri Lanka.

Gingili oil has been used as a healing oil for thousands of years. Gingili oil is mentioned in the Vedas as an excellent oil for humans. It is naturally anti-bacterial for common skin pathogens such as staphylococcus and streptococcus as well as common skin fungi such as athlete foot fungus. It is naturally anti-viral. It is also a natural anti-inflammalory agent.

Gingili oil has been used in ancient Sri Lanka for a variety of purposes. It is recommended in ayurveda as "best of seed oils. It is  penetrating, removes skin diseases, is suitable for nourishing the lean and thinning fat". The oil is massaged on the abdomen to promote the uterine contrations.

In India, gingili oil has been used for unblocking arteries. In recent experiments in Holland by ayurvedic physicians, the oil has been used in the treatment of chronic diseases including hepatitis and migraine. In vitro, gingili oil has inhibited replication of human colon cancer cells. Gingili oil has inhibited the growth of malignant melanoma (skin cancer) in vitro.

Potent antioxidant

Research shows that gingili oil is a potent antioxidant. In the tissues beneath the skin this oil will neutralize oxygen radicals. It penetrates into the skin quickly and enters the blood stream through the capillaries.

In an experiment at the Maharishi International College in Fairfield, Iowa students rinsed their mouths with gingili oil resulting in a 85% reduction in bacteria which cause gingirities.

As nose drops snuffed back into the sinuses, gingili oil has cured chronic sinusitis. As a throat gargle it kills strep; and other common bacteria. It helps sufferers of psosiasis and dry skin. It has been successfully used in the hair of children to kills lice infestation. It is a natural UV protector. It nourishes and feeds the scalp dandruff and kills dandruff causing bacteria. It protects the skin from the effects of chlorine in swimming pool water.

Used before and after radiation treatment, gingili oil helps to neutralize the flood of oxygen radicals which such treatment inevitably causes.

Gingili oil helps the joints to keep their flexibility. It keeps the skin supple and soft and heals and protects areas of mild scrapes, cuts and abrasions. It helps to tighten facial skin, particularly around the nose controlling the unusual enlargement of pores as skin ages chronologically.

Gingili ( sesame) oil unlike other oils is good for young skin. It helps and neutralises the poisons which develop both on the surface of and in pores. With gingili oil no cosmetics are needed. The gingili oil will cause young facial skin to have and display natural growth.

Used on baby skin particularly in the area covered by diapers, the gingily oil will protect the tender skin against rashes  caused by the acidity of body waste.

When using the oil as a massage oil stroke the long limbs up and down, use circular movements over all joints to stimulate the natural energy of these joints.

- Dr. D. P. Atukorale

Courtesy

1. Food And Nutrition by Prof. T. W. Wickramanayake

2. Guide To Vegetarian Living by Peter Cox. 


Life in the heart of Fort

By Ranee Mohamed

Life is a journey and the Fort railway station has all the ups and  downs that we all meet in life. At first sight it looks like a busy place where trains come and go. But take a closer look and we will find that it is not only trains that come and go here.

Sub Inspector Ajith Perera is amicable. He tries to help us locate the people that the police have 'cleared' from the  Colombo-Fort railway station. Sitting in his noisy office at the police post at the railway station, Perera and his clan are on the lookout for crime - petty or otherwise.

And things seem to have improved tremendously with the presence of the police here in the railway station. There was a time when a woman could not pass the fruit stalls without being remarked at. "Once a lady came and told us that the fruit sellers jeered at her and then threw a rotten apple at her," recalled the police officers.

But the police soon changed all that and life appears rosy for the women folk who have to mingle with this large crowd here at Fort.

The Colombo-Fort police have been responsible for sending the beggar families away from the railway station because they want to make it a better place.

But still the Visakhas and the Sivalis do come to see SI Ajith Perera. He blushes and recalls the vibrant nail polish and the lipstick and the small leather type handbag that Visakha carried. He remembers all this too well because Visakha should not have been carrying a ladies' handbag, for Visakha was a young man who was also a beautician. But SI Ajith Perera and the Fort police in general have not been that interested in Visakha's beauty career; what they were more interested in was why this young man and a huge group of equal feminity frequented the Fort railway station. They wanted to put a stop to Visakha and his friends and they did. Today Visakha wears less feminine clothes, but he seems to blush when SI Ajith Perera approaches. But all these blushes of the young men in skirts are wasted on the police team at this railway station. 

The Fort police however have not taken kindly to the acitivities that have been going on in the Fort railway station.

"When a train approaches all that the commuter is interested in is getting a seat on the train. He runs behind the moving train and somehow throws the bag into a seat. Then when the train comes to a halt, he goes looking for his bag. And most often it is not there for someone else gets off with it," said SI Ajith Perera, OIC, Fort railway police post.

"When a commuter decides to spend the night at the railway station to catch the early morning train, he finds that there is another man who decides to sleep next to him, despite the wide space all around. In the morning he finds that his sleeping partner has disappeared with his bag and baggage and his purse too," said the SI.

There are 10 police  officers here, among them, PCs Lal, Amarasuriya, Wanasinghe, Karunaratna, Siriwardene, Shane and Nandasiri. They function under the guidance of ASP Cyril Fernando and OIC Fort police, H.M. Dharmasena.

There have been many heart rending  cases of distrust and infidelity at the Fort railway station. It seems that this is the place that one can learn the lessons in life's journey the fastest.

"There are many women who come to us saying that the 'aiya' who was so nice and kind to them and helped them find their way around in the city of Colombo has 'disappeared' with their purse or their bag. Women are hurt and harmed most. A few months ago, almost everyday there was a case of a chain being snatched and the woman's neck being severely injured. Our aim is to stop all kinds of unwanted elements from taking a walk along the railway station looking for prey," said SI Ajith Perera.

Perera spoke of a time when not only women, but even men were not safe at the railway station due to the presence of people like Visakhas and Sivalis.

The police however had not taken kindly to these painted people who had however  pleaded with the muscular policemen to let them stay.

It is like an airport in the heart of the city - every morning about 100,000  people pass by. In the evening too, a little more than 100,000 make their way out of the station and there is a section of society who try to make a living from this crowd. Some sell buns and tea, others try  perverted means - making these people innocent and unsuspecting victims.

"Sometimes there are many tourists who come to this railway station to go to far away places to see the beauty of Sri Lanka. But what do they see here, beggars, touts and people like Visakha and Sivali. But today all that has stopped. Nobody is allowed entry into the railway station in the night"said SI Perera. Today, the drug addicts and the drug dealers have all left the Fort railway station.

The police team has had a tough time here. Initially there had been many thugs and it had taken the Fort police a lot of work to make them  law-abiding citizens.

"They still walk around the neighbourhood, but they cannot intimidate ordinary citizens anymore," said this police team.

The police team points at the little byroads on the opposite side of the railway station. They speak of a place called the 'Kapiri Mudukkuwa.' On inquries made, it was discovered that this is the most feared place in the city of Fort. Here drug dealers and sex-dealers, drug addicts and prostitutes, all work hand in hand here.

Though it is said to be the most feared place in the city, the place has its attractions and there still is a handful of young people who make their way into this dreaded den and come back minus their wallets all the time.

Perhaps, this may become the next project for the Fort police, who have made the Colombo Fort railway station a place sans hurt and smoke.

 

 

 

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