A huge road painting that sends out a message of peace is the latest hate victim here.
In memory of Neelan Tiruchelvam, the slain Tamil leader and scholar who had a universal appeal, it was desecrated by a group of persons on August 4.
A vocal critic of the Tamil Tigers, he was assassinated by the LTTE on July 29, 1999, at the junction of the Kynsey Road-Kynsey Terrace. The painting extends for over 10 metres from the Kynsey Terrace to the Rosemead Place.
Around 11 p.m. when I drove through the spot, I could see that the stretch had completely been painted over with tar, and the image beneath was hardly seen.
Groundviews website, quoting the ICES, said: “On 4 August around 9 p.m. a truck with around 15 men, all in civilian attire, arrived at the site of the road painting. Using large lights to illuminate the road, they painted over the remaining sections of the road painting.”
Apparently, this was not the first attempt. An earlier one had not worked and hence, the men had returned, says the website.
“On August 3 around 8.30 p.m. an attempt was made by around 15 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 painting. 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 rest. Most of the painting has now been obscured, what has been left untouched is the Sinhala section of the text (Jeevithaye Shreshthathvaya Rekaganimu) while the Tamil and English (Vaazhvin Punithatthai Uruthippaduththuka and Secure Sanctity of Life) have been obliterated,” the website said.
Every year, a few painters arrive at the scene on the eve of the death and birth anniversaries of Neelan. They paint messages of love and sanctity of human life.