This letter is in response to the news item appearing in the Daily
News of December 12 announcing the decision of the Colombo Grand Mosque
that they have decided to celebrate the Hadji Festival this year on
According to Islam, the Hadji festival has to be celebrated on the
10th day of Dul Haj which is the Islamic lunar month. It also has to be
on the day following the Day of Arafa in Mecca.
Arafa Day in Mecca is on December 18 (Tuesday). Therefore the Hadji
festival has to be celebrated on the 19th Wednesday. Under no
circumstances, can the Hadji festival be celebrated anywhere in the
world on Friday the 21st. The Poya Day which is normally taken on the
14th of the lunar month falls on the December 23.
The announcement of the Grand Mosque does not say on what evidence
they have decided to celebrate the Festival on the 21st which is the
12th day of the lunar month of Dul Haj.
Announcing the correct dates of the Ramazan Fast and the festivals of
the Muslims of this country is the duty of the Muslim Religious Affairs
Ministry in consultation with the authorities of the Holy Mosque in
Mecca because we are 2 1/2 hours ahead of Saudi time.
This duty has been neglected by the Ministry and the Minister
concerned and the entire Muslim community of this country is in a state
of confusion with regard to their religious events and functions.
This state of affairs happens every year and it is a pity that no
Muslim Minister seems to be concerned about this important matter.
When the Hadji Festival is not celebrated on the correct date, the
Muslims are put into great inconvenience in performing their sacrifices
because of the Poya Day which falls on the 14th day of the lunar month
which this year is on December 23.
M. B. M. ZUBAIR
This is in response to the article you 'dug your own grave', which
was sent in by Ananda Jayasena and appeared in the 'citizens mail' on
I'm sure that most of you are aware of Marvan Atapattu quitting
international cricket and going to play for the Indian Cricket League (ICL).
Marvan Atapattu over the years has done his country proud, amassing many
records and taking Sri Lanka to numerous victories.
His test career has been the epitome for the saying 'If at first you
don't succeed, try again'. But unfortunately after all his achievements,
we see the unjust hand that he had been dealt.
It's easy to be a square arm-chair critic and say that what he did
was wrong. But really, what else was he to do since no-one back home was
willing to listen to him, he had to turn to the international media to
get his message out.
Atapattu did what he had to, to highlight the problems facing Sri
Lanka cricket, so that the rightful authorities could take necessary
action to make sure that Sri Lanka cricket can have a future.
But I guess in time to come people will understand the prudence in
Marvain's action. So really, he hasn't dug his own grave, rather he has
done his part to save Sri Lanka cricket and gone onto where his
abilities will be appreciated.
In all, what we should be saying to him in "Thank you very much and
best wishes for the future". For those who wish to criticise such
selfless acts, please stand in the shoes of that person and move around
in his skin before dishing out your hollow criticism.
The motley crew that supports Prabhakaran consists of the simple
minded or the gullible and the easily led, but they are nevertheless
dangerous because their narrow minds do not value human lives, no matter
Prabhakaran appears to have convinced them of the Paradise of Tamil
Eelam but any sane person could see that it is not sustainable and,
under the leadership of Prabhakaran, it would be a one-man operation
bordering on mafia type extortion and murder. You cannot teach an old
dog new tricks.
1) Under Prabhakaran all opposition would be silenced. He has already
killed or has attempted to kill practically every other Tamil leader not
supporting him. That will not change.
2) There are no revenue raising industries in Tamil Eelam. Therefore,
the new rulers i.e. the dictatorship will resort to high taxation like
Cromwell's poll tax, or more likely, turn to extortion from Tamil
businesses and Tamils everywhere. That is what he does now and that is
not going to change.
3) Once Tamil Eelam is achieved, it will be payback time for
Prabhakaran's supporters. Considering the number of years they have
maintained him, the debt must be colossal. There would be nothing in the
coffers, so the alternative is to eliminate them.
4) Finally, for the mere survival of Tamil Eelam it has no choice but
rely on the generosity of the Central Government and the self-same tax
payers who have suffered unnecessarily for 30 years, for a futile cause
at the ruthless whim of a megalomaniac, that is Prabhakaran.
It is inconceivable that some apparently moderate people also support
They must have a different agenda and Prabhakaran is being used.
SHAIK ANWAR AHAMATH,
Handing your car keys to a newly licensed teenage driver is never
easy. Instead of pacing the floor and worrying each time your teen
leaves the house, discuss the facts with him or her, and set some
* Safety belts save lives. Get into the habit of buckling up and
insist that all of your passengers buckle up, too. In most States, it's
* Before your teen drives solo, require at least 50 hours of
supervised driving time and completion of a behind-the-wheel defensive
driving is a must.
* Protect your teen by establishing a reasonable curfew. Nighttime
driving, which is more difficult even for experienced drivers, involves
a greater number of drunk drivers on the road.
* Stress to your teen the importance of obeying speed limits.
High-speed driving is a dangerous risk not worth the potential thrill.
Some cars perform much differently at high speeds and for a new and
inexperienced driver, the results can be deadly.
* The penalties of drunk driving can range from loss of licence,
insurance and savings, to loss of life. Make a pact: If your young
driver consumes any alcohol, he or she will not get behind the wheel and
will call you to arrange a pickup.
Your part is to avoid asking any questions until the following day.
This pact also applies when your teen is a guest of any driver - young
or old - who has been drinking.
* Stress to your teens the importance of the side mirrors, driver
mirrors and negotiating corner and bend.
Finally, remember that your driving habits greatly influence those of
your teen. Be a good example. Follow the same set of rules you establish
for your teen, and always designate a driver if you've consumed any
Good communications, some realistic rules and honest cooperation can
make your new driver a benefit to the family, not a source of constant
Street beggars at the Fort Railway Station presently sell observation
saloon reservations to the public before a genuine person tries to get
from the queue. This practice has been happening for a long period of
Recently I decided to go on a trip to Haputale with my family members
in the Observation Saloon and I went to the Fort Railway Station at
03.00 a.m. to reserve my seats.
There were nine people in front of me in the queue almost sleeping
and I was the tenth. The reservation counter was opened at 6.00 a.m. in
Even though I was the tenth in the queue I couldn't get any seat
since the officer at the counter said that all the seats were sold out.
It means that the people seem to be street beggars who have grabbed
all the available seats to sell to other people for more money. I was
totally disappointed since my children were anxiously waiting for the
travel in the observation deck.
Even other people who were standing after me also got disappointed.
Therefore, the railway authorities must take suitable action to
prevent such malicious actions by railway officers who do not care about
issuing reservations to public like me.
The railway officers should be able to differentiate beggars and the
As Sri Lankan citizens we humbly request the Minister of Transport
who is taking a great attempt to rebuild the transport service in the
country, to examine this unfair situation happening in the Fort Station
and give a reasonable solution to enable the every passengers to travel
in the Observation Saloon peacefully.
Apropos your timely editorial regarding noise pollution and also Dr.
Kariyawasam's letter on the same subject, for the benefit of readers,
here's what Newsweek has to say in a recent issue about noise pollution.
1) 210,000 Europeans killed annually by noise related cardiovascular
2) Four hours of daily exposure to workplace noise is suffiicient to
raise heart rates.
3) 60 Decibel level - as loud as a dishwasher can trigger stress
induced heart problems.
4) Two months retardation in a child's reading skills caused by each
five decibel increase in aircraft noise.
As another daily quite rightly mentioned, there is a propensity among
our people to make as much noise as possible and is deeply interwoven
into our culture. Our thinking seems to be the greater the noise
generated, the more successful the event (whether it be a wedding or
even a funeral!).
A. J. PEREIRA,