The three Cambrians lost to the nation

The sun rose as usual on the 25th of April, 2008. It was on that fateful day that the repeatedly postponed cricket encounter between Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa, and St. Sebastian’s College had been fixed at last. The three of them were students of Prince of Wales College.

Nipuna Kaushalya Peiris, who had got through the GCE (O/L) Exam in December, 2007, had been looking forward to entering the GCE (A/L) class of the same college. He had just completed his 16th year. Iresh Shavinda Gunaratne, who was studying in Year 10, was just 14 years old, who, too, was dreaming of sitting for the GCE (O/L) Exam this year (2009). The smallest of the trio, Ruchira Thilanga Peiris, was just 11 years old, studying in Year 6.

Nipuna and Iresh were two dedicated and active members of the school band and Ruchira was an energetic sportsman who had won championships in the under-11 sports events on several occasions. On that fateful day, the three of them left home clad in white not for school as usual, but to watch the cricket match and to add colour to the occasion by playing in the band. It was a day which both Nipuna and Iresh had been looking forward to for a long time.

It was a rainy day. The match was over before the scheduled time. Usually, this big cricket encounter is held during the weekend in mid-March of the year. But last year it had been fixed on this day.

The friends boarded a CTB bus, which was blasted by the LTTE in the heart of the Piliyandala town. It is doubtful whether they even knew the causes of the conflict. But they paid with their lives for the sins of others.

The smallest of the three, Ruchira, died on the spot and the other two later, leaving their parents, friends and kith and kin in eternal grief.

Three Cambrians who were eagerly waiting to render a great service to the nation were lost to the country.

They were not responsible for this cruel conflict, but they paid for it with their lives in the most unexpected manner.

The destruction of innocent lives continues unabated, irrespective of sex, status, age or racial differences. Immediate steps have to be taken to put a stop to this menace and it is the duty of all of us to do so.

M. Nandasiri Peiris
(Nipuna’s father)

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