Becoming me

Kumudu and I studied together at our “all-boys” college in Colombo.  We weren’t friends, really- (Kumudu was one year senior to me): but I knew of Kumudu (everyone did). While we practiced for the Shakespeare Drama Competition at the college main hall, Kumudu and friends also practiced for their national-level Sinhala drama competitions. Kumudu would almost always play the female lead. For us- teenage school boys, this was quite a spectacle and Kumudu and friends would often be made fun of. They called Kumudu the ‘p-word’ (a Sinhala slur) and all other kinds of names.  When I first encountered this, Kumudu seemed taken aback and clearly distressed by the unending bullying but as time passed by it seemed like Kumudu was unaffected by the endless name-calling and bullying: Kumudu even yelled back at the bullies.

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Kajan and Sulakshan: Motorcycle Diaries

Originally published in the Sunday Leader

Last Thursday, two young students of the Arts Faculty of the University of Jaffna — 23 year old Kajan and 24 year old Sulakshan were allegedly shot by the police at a roadblock in Kankesanthurai, Jaffna. There are various narratives being shared on the sequence of events that led to the shooting: everything from the youth being drunk and refusing to stop the bike at the checkpoint to them being members of the armed gang ‘Awaa’ which is allegedly linked to recent incidents of violence against civilians and police in Jaffna. However, until there is an independent inquiry into what happened, we cannot know what exactly happened that night at the Kulappidi Junction. The bottom line though, is whether drunk, not stopping when pulled over by the police, having a history of criminal conduct, all of the above or none, the police had absolutely no authority to shoot the two unarmed young men who were on the bike.
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