Vain Attempt to bring Disrepute to Heroic Forces
By Nadira Gunatilleke
Last week the country was full of hot topics. It is very interesting to note how the innocent poor ordinary people who do not use social media due to their age, economic status and lack of IT knowledge reacted to those hot topics connected to various incidents and other matters. Unfortunately their voices are not aired through the mainstream media or social media. Their voices are heard only when they cast their votes.
All social media platforms were full of various posts making fun out of the ‘protesters’ whose families were rescued from floods by the heroic Armed Forces. From the beginning, protesters insulted the Armed Forces stating that they do not have educational qualifications and accusing them of committing War Crimes etc. Even some foreign women insulted them for no reason. One such foreign woman said Sri Lanka does not need a big building to house the headquarters of the three Armed Forces. Maybe their main objective was creating a rift and conflict between the Armed Forces and the ordinary people of this country. The families of the same protesters were rescued by Armed Forces when floods hit their villages. Now ordinary people can ask what the services are done by protesters for the people.
COVID vaccination drive
Once again COVID-19 has raised its ugly head here in Sri Lanka. According to health authorities the disease shows a rapid increase. The number of COVID-19 deaths and cases are seeing a drastic increase day-by-day. No wonder the heroic Armed Forces have to undergo the same ordeal they underwent in 2020 and 2021 to save the people’s lives from COVID-19 due to the negligence of the ordinary people. It was the Armed Forces which saved the nation from COVID-19 by working hard with the health staff. It was the Armed Forces that accelerated the vaccination programmes island wide and handled all quarantine centres and procedures during the pandemic. But as usual, people remember the negative things while totally forgetting all positive things connected to successfully controlling the COVID-19 in the past two years. The selfish people remember the good for two weeks and bad for years.
When observing the ongoing situation in the country even a kindergarten child can predict that there will be a huge COVID-19 wave in near future no matter whether people are fully vaccinated or not. The huge COVID-19 wave will hit the country soon due to the ignorance of the public. No matter how many times health authorities appeal to wear masks, the people just ignore it and move in public places especially inside congested public transport putting vulnerable people’s lives in grave danger. They think it is their right to put other people’s lives in danger by not wearing masks.
By now all health authorities and the Government should understand that nothing controls dangerous situations in Sri Lanka except the toughest laws and punishments.
Without toughest punishments, rules regulations etc. nothing can be controlled successfully in this country. It is the same with COVID-19. Enough is enough and now the Government and the health authorities need to introduce stringent punishments, rules and regulations to control the latest wave of the COVID-19. Wearing masks should be made compulsory and all the other basic health guidelines such as keeping distance, washing hands etc. need to be re-introduced as soon as possible.
All of us know very well that even 10 doses of COVID-19 vaccinations does not help certain categories of people such as people who suffer from certain chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney or liver diseases etc, people who underwent serious surgeries recently, people who are on immunity lowering drugs for other diseases, people who are older than 75 years or so etc. They are still in danger no matter how many booster doses are given. They are a large part of the total population of Sri Lanka which has an ageing population. They have the right to life. The State should protect them. This is why the Government and health authorities need to take it seriously and solve the matter before it goes out of control similar to 2021.
The current situation is, no matter how many times health authorities appeal to them to be careful and wear masks in public, they, especially the young generation who are not badly affected by COVID-19 ignore it displaying an attitude that infecting others is one of their rights! Maybe that dangerous attitude came into them with the latest developments in the country such as various protests. Anyway no protester wore a mask during the recent past. They set a very good example for not obeying rules and regulations. By now people think that not wearing a mask is their right. Therefore, it will be very difficult for the Government and the health authorities to make people wear masks in public in the future.
As usual last week the three-wheeler mafia started to threaten filling stations in order to obtain fuel without QR code. According to some media reports some filling stations in Colombo 5 had agreed to provide fuel for three-wheelers without the QR code. This is purely promoting fuel and the three-wheeler mafia. Relevant authorities need to address this issue as soon as possible because the three-wheeler mafia cannot dominate filling stations as they did in the past without allowing ordinary people to obtain fuel. There is no argument at all about how the three-wheeler community behaves from the beginning. They led the fuel mafia and sold fuel for extremely high prices in the black market. The polythene covering some of the three-wheeler drivers used during COVID-19 period disappeared a long time ago. It is high time now that instructions need to be issued to them to replace it immediately.
Bus fares went down last week but unfortunately the passengers do not get the benefit of it because usually private buses overcharge passengers directly or indirectly by not giving the balance. This is a common practice when it comes to the minimum bus fare of Rs. 34 – because when passengers give Rs. 35 the conductors never give the one rupee balance back to the passenger. When passengers give Rs. 40 they never give six rupees back. They only give two or three rupees telling that they do not have coins with them. Private buses obtain fuel but passengers don’t see those buses transporting passengers. An early and quick solution needs to be given for this burning issue because the stocks of fuel are limited in the country. In addition, now the latest issue is congestion in public transport with increasing COVID-19 cases and deaths. But it seems the private bus operators do not care at all about the health of the passengers or at least their own health. Then what is the point talking about the health of the passengers they transport?