On Saturday, August 28, l was driving my car, accompanied by my wife, towards Colombo on the Colombo – Negombo road. The time was around midnight and except for a few isolated spots where there was traffic, the road was peaceful. As I usually do at such times, I kept cruising on the outer-left lane other than when overtaking another vehicle.
As we were passing the Thri-Posha Factory at Kapuwatte, a car overtook us and suddenly stopped right in front of us. Thinking the car had a mechanical problem, I tried to pass it from a side which was then blocked purposely. Sensing the danger of some hold-up my wife’s immediate reaction was to remove and hide her jewellery. We remained stationary in the same position expecting someone to come to us from the car blocking us or from somewhere else but nobody turned up.
After a while we were allowed to pass, but this same car with halogen beams and Knight-Rider type blinkers on the grill kept on following us. As we approached the new Kelani bridge, I saw two policemen walking towards us as if they were specifically looking for a certain vehicle. They read our registration number and asked us to stop. The car that followed us stopped in front. By then it was clear to us that some telephone instruction from the car following us had gone to the policemen, asking them to stop us.
My wife and I alighted from our car as requested. A person who apparently was the sole occupant and driver of the other car also stepped out. He then told the policemen that I was drunk; that I had blocked his car and that I had been driving all over the road. To me, who had been riding and driving with a clean driving licence for 50 years, following not only road rules but also road manners, this allegation was a rude shock. My wife spoke out saying that we never obstructed anyone anywhere but it was the person complaining who had obstructed us for no reason and scared us at the dead of night. The complainant then threateningly insisted in the presence of the policemen that he would not leave until I was taken to the police station and locked up. It is a pity that he did not realise he was bullying a harmless couple that were perhaps older than his own parents. The policemen who were apparently helpless directed us to the Peliyagoda Police Station and handed us over to the Traffic Sergeant on duty.
With the answers to a few questions and necessary explanations, the Traffic Sergeant was intelligent enough to understand our position. Nevertheless he had to do his duty and subject me to various tests the results of which were naturally negative. A lengthy statement was then recorded and we were released.
My main intention in highlighting this incident is to appreciate the action taken by the Traffic Sergeant who was understanding, sympathetic and kind. Had he not been so, and blindly followed instructions that came from somewhere even without a written complaint, I would have had to spend the night behind bars with my wife seated on the bench opposite the reserve table and all that for no injury or damage caused to anyone anywhere.
Neville A. Perera