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How Homagama youth who confused the country ...
by hoodwinking home-people that they were lost!

What was published in a number of media yesterday was that a group of youth from Homagama who had gone on a pleasure trip to the Knuckles Reserve had been isolated having lost their way and that the police from Ududumbara, Raththota and Laggala police stations had launched an operation in that connection. The said
operations was launched as a result of the information conveyed on 119 emergency service by a relative of the group. However no such thing had taken place in reality as such. All of them had returned to their homes without any harm whatsoever by yesterday and this confusion has taken place after this group of boys had told their home people that they were to go to Riverston and instead had gone on a trip on private necessity and having delayed to report home, one of the boys had called home saying "no signals ... we are abandoned" and because that phone had been inactive for a number of days, the parents had becomeagitated, resulting in informing the police, ending in turmoil.

During the time the operations were in progress in search of this clique of boys, three young boys in the crowd had been heading towards their homes in a bus and on hearing the news over the radio that operations have commenced in search of them had surprised them.

Seven boys from Homagama, Kegalle, Aththanagalla and Pamunuwa areas had informed their householders that they were making a trip to Riverston and had thus set out on 6th evening. Whether all of them really went there however is not clear and what one boy had told the police was that they had gained access to the Knuckles Reserve through Pathadumbara, Paswela and Bambarella and that they had found lodging in one of those areas because of a downfall of rain on which occasion had spoken to his father who was a textile merchant and had called to say that there would be a delay as they had lost the way. Sunsequently as there had been no response from the son from there onwards he had got worried and informed the police about it. Under these conditions police officers, Wild Life officers and villagers had started a search from 11 in the night day-before-yesterday. Since there was no information available, the police were planning to summon the Air Force for search operations on the youth. As mentioned earlier as three of the boys in the group were heading towards their homes yesterday (9) in a bus, having come to know through the radio that the police were on the search for them, they had notified the police about the true situation. At the time they had called the police they had been passing across Bambaraella, they had said.

They had told police that they were constantly engaged in research activities and that they had equipped themselves in advance with tents and food etcetera. "It was when we were listening to the radio that we came to know that the police wee searching for us. Two hours before we set off, three others left. Two of them had to attend a funeral house while another had to attend to some work in the job. For that reason they set off early", one boy had remarked. The police in turn say that a suspicion has cropped up as to whether they had entered the Reserve and then left the Reserve separately and that there are points of suspicion in the information they had given.

It was later revealed that they had actually not gained access to Knuckles zone not through access points of Wild Life Conservation Department. The Conservation Department has mentioned that legal action would be taken against these youth for having entered Riverston region without permission.


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