Tuesday, October 30, 2007

renewal of the high security zone permit

Today is the day our three month high security zone permit expires and I sent Amila to renew it to the Pettah police station with what we were earlier informed was the required information.When Amile arrived there, he was told they need an additional letter from me the registered owner of the vehicle in Sinhala requesting an extension of the permit, in addition to a formal letter as the owner of the enterprise which is requesting this extension. So Amila takes the bus to my sisters to get the letter which I had already prepared. I drove him as far as Slave Island from where he took the bus as my vehicle is not permitted to go any further. Apparently he got there at 4pm but they said they don't accept requests after 4pm implying per their clock it was a minute past and we have to come tomorrow to give it. I have to go to Kitulgala tomorrow so we can't do it and the permit expires today.I don't live in Colombo so it is even more difficult to conform to their requests. It is amazing how cussed law enforcement is in Sri Lanka as they feel we have to be beholden to their behaviour, only they can exercise!!

We in Sri Lanka suffer a lot at the hands of law enforcement irrespective of race, as they have become a law unto themselves and are no longer servants of the state. I was checked by an army soldier at a checkpoint when I was bringing produce a few days ago and he went so far as to go through my clothes bag and take out my binoculars and check the sights to see if it in deed was one and opened the battery chamber of my flashlight to see if there were batteries and in the process broke the spring. He probably had never seen a flashlight like that!!

Such is life in the battle zone where the battle is really for the rights of the innocent not that of the terrorist who still gets their way.


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