DS Brothers - You are in our hearts forever...
The highly active Fort Railway station is somewhat deserted with an extended weekend holiday in the offing. It is unnaturally calm in this normally busy transport hub. On this lazy Sunday afternoon gun totting security personnel at every entry\exit point remind the travellers of the troubled times they are going through.
Security has been beefed up and troops are on red alert, With Sri Lanka at the doorstep of another landmark in its annals, in the form of their 60th independence anniversary which is to be flagged off with a grand celebration in a few hours.
Sixty years hence the struggle by our forefathers to gain freedom from the clutches of colonial rulers, another struggle is being waged, this time to free the nation from the clutches of terrorism.
In this backdrop the Fort Railway station and the general area resembles a mini fortress with armed guards at every nook and corner.
The time is 2.05 p.m, the train from Kandy arrives at the station and among the crowd are seven young baseball players and their coach from D.S. Senanayake college in Colombo, returning after a club match in Kandy.
There are heavy bags on their backs and menacing looking baseball bats in their hands. The young men in the prime of their lives move to the exit point, at the corner of the number three platform, laughing and joking with each other. They either did not see or did not take any notice of, a young woman who had a deadly secret: a suicide jacket strapped to her waist. In their eyes, she could have been just another passenger waiting to disembark. But she had no plan of ever going home.
The big clock overhead turns to 2.10, and stops its tick, tick as crows are the first ones to take flight in unison with the sound of the deadly blast, sending its shockwaves on unsuspecting, innocent bystanders.
The clock which stopped at 2.10 p.m would be repaired in the near future and its hands would weave back and forth once again. But those young hearts which stopped ticking at 2.10 p.m on February 03, 2008, would never tick again. The life journey they began with so much hope and dreams is shattered so cruelly, on the concrete floor of a railway station to appease the bloodlust of terrorists.
White balls lathered in red slowly roll on the concrete floor and shattered bats lie in the cold concrete, so are their bodies which have been decimated in their prime.
For Rajarathnem Radeeswaran (18) of Dematagoda the fate has had it's say. His life has been snatched away by an organisation which claims to be the very guardians of the community he represents.
The tears of his mother M.Wasantha is the same as his dear friend Thiwanka's mother from Dehiwela, both have lost their beloved sons and at what cost they ask ?
His Father Vijayan Rajaratnam who is in shock over his son's death has a baseball cap in his lap, and talks about his son's love for the American game, which had paved the way for him to get the nod in getting admission to the famed D.S. Senanayake college.
Young Eranga Chaturanga who resides next to his beloved college too has bid adieu to this world at a time when both his mother and father had sought greener pastures in the Middle East, to make their son's life more comfortable.
But alas they have to return home abandoning the hope of a brighter future for their loved one, as his life has been terminated by a cruel terror which has no regard for human life.
Baseball captain of DS Nadeera Jayawardene who missed that fateful journey speaks painfully about the demise of his colleagues, calling it as an irreparable loss. The pain would haunt the rest of his and his friends' lives.
He painfully recollects the memories and says "I was scheduled to join them but because it was not a college match and also because I had to attend some other matters I did not go".
According to Nadeera six of his team mates had returned on the previous day but the rest had stayed back to visit the historic sights in Kandy, unknowing that death lay waiting to snatch them away on their return.
Kolitha Kumara (19) from Hokandara and Supun Halalla of Angoda who were studying in the A\L Commerce class were best of buddies according to their friends, and had excelled not only in sports but in studies as well.
Alas both had their future dreams shattered as victims of a conflict in which they never took part.
Young Dinuth Priyasanka of Agalawatte who was staying at his aunt's house in Colombo was eagerly awaiting to commence his A\L studies in the Science stream and according to friends was aspiring to be a doctor.
His father had migrated to Middle East with the untimely death of his mother to make his two children Dinuth and his sister's lives more comfortable. But now the grief stricken father has to return home, with his dreams shattered to see his beloved son lying in a cold coffin, a victim of a cold blooded attack by a group which calls themselves 'freedom fighters'.
Freedom at what cost? Could anybody even with a semblance of humanity justify attacks on innocent schoolchildren and unsuspecting civilians, asks Uvidu Vidura a senior prefect at the D.S.senanayake College. Now the only thing left for us is to pay the highest honour and assist their bereaved families on behalf of our college, says Vidura giving voice to the DS student community, as the coffins of their colleagues are brought to the school hall one by one.
The very gates from which they came to school day after day has opened for one last time. But this time round the entry is not on foot, but over the shoulders of their weeping colleagues, with their youthful bodies wrapped in satin in a cold coffin.
The young baseball coach of DS, Malinda Arumadura (27) of Gandara would never see his one year old child and his wife Sadeshi, whom he married recently. His dreams of a happy family life too got shattered like his body on that concrete floor at Colombo Fort.
A weeping student in front of their colleagues' remains says this Nation has lost many innocent young lives. "I hope my friends would be the last. I hope the blood spilled by them would not be in vain."
And as one banner erected by students proclaimed
Let the white doves fly
Don't let anyone cry
End War by and by
Then no one will sigh
The Last Group Picture after the Kandy Tour
D.S. Senanayake College - BaseBall Team Members Funeral
LTTE kill 10 School Children: 7 Baseball Players & Coach
D.S. Senanayake College - BaseBall Team Members Funeral
DS Senanayake College Baseball team