By Colombo Telegraph –
Following the assassination of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam by the LTTE on 29 July 1999, in a spontaneous outpouring of grief and loss, the people with whom he worked and the staff of the institutions he founded, remembered and honoured Dr. Tiruchelvam by painting a mural with peace motifs and the quote ‘Secure the Sanctity of Life’ in Tamil, Sinhala and English on Kynsey Road where he was assassinated. This initiative called for the celebration of life and sought to re-affirm values which counter violence and disregard for humanity. Over the last 13 years since his assassination, along with staff members, and friends and supporters of the institutions and of Dr. Tiruchelvam, students and artists have also participated in touching up the painting at the Kynsey Road-Kynsey Terrace junction; an activity that takes place twice a year on his birth and death anniversaries. Clearance to undertake the activity is obtained from the Cinnamon Gardens Police. Furthermore, two police officers from the Traffic Division provide assistance to manage traffic while the road painting exercise was conducted.
On 27 July staff members and artists met again to touchup the painting on the Kynsey Road- Kynsey Terrace junction to mark Dr. Tiruchelvam’s death anniversary on 29 July 2012. On 2 August 2012, at around 10.45 pm a truck was seen driving up Kynsey Road from which around 15 men alighted. One man was witnessed pouring what appeared to be a black oil-like liquid on the mural while another poured sand on it. The men completed the operation in a few minutes and drove off. Despite, their efforts the mural could still be clearly seen the following morning although the colours of the mural were now muted. A police complaint was lodged with the Borella Police on 3 August.
On 3 August at around 8.30 pm a second attempt was made by around fifteen individuals, all dressed in civilian attire, including some in track suit trousers and t-shirts, who placed orange traffic cones around the area and poured tar on sections of the mural; they waited until the tar had dried before leaving the site within an hour. There were two vehicles parked nearby, a white truck that had the sign ‘Road Markings’ across its windscreen, and a military white jeep with two military personnel in uniform seated inside, both of which left with the men all dressed in civilian attire. Most of the mural has now been obscured, what has been left untouched is the Sinhala section of the mural while the Tamil and English sections have been obliterated/painted over. (See the picture below – Photo courtesy Vikalpa )
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