Sri Lanka: “My son would have been alive if he had a mobile phone” – Father

Posted on August 17, 2009  /  20 Comments

Sri Lanka hurriedly banned mobile phones at schools, not just for students but teachers as well, following a suicide of a Museaus girl, allegedly after an incident involving a mobile phone. Pity that they never reflected on the other side of the story. Mobile phone is a security device that enables critical communication between parents and children. Take it away and the results can be disastrous because that makes a child vulnerable.

The story would have been different if he had a mobile

The story would have been different if he had a mobile

Take the story of Lasantha Gimhana Kanewela (10), for example. (Divaina, August 17, 2009) Having his extracurricular activities called off, this ten year old, a student of Sri Medhankara Vidhyalaya, Horana, had no way of requesting his parents pick him. He heads away for home alone and meets a tragic accident on the way. This is all his father had to say: “If he had a mobile phone, he could have asked me to come and pick him. Then this would have never have happened”

Sadly, the message will reach deaf ears. The story will never receive the same prominence from the biased media. Authorities, while equipping their own offspring with mobile phones, will continue to block the benefit of this easy mode of communication to rural and poor children.

It couldn’t be certainly the lack of evidence, that prevents them taking intelligent decisions, because we know for sure over 99% of the Bottom of the Pyramid teleusers see a mobile phone as a security device with over 71% saying it significantly improved their ability to act in an emergency. This is from LIRNEasia’s 2008 Teleuse at BoP survey. (See below) What more evidence they need?

The  wisdom at the bottom which never made to top

The wisdom at the bottom which never made to top


  1. This is a very good decision. Students do not need mobile phones. Students are Students. Even some of them cannot understand what is good what is bad. It is not not a such a thing to wonder because we have seen very fulsome things which are done by high people. So..they could be go wild.. First of all we need to make their attitudes good. I have seen that Students are doing very very BAD things with their mobile phones.

    I don;t know about the above incident. But because of one father do we put our country in to a hell???? Parents should look after their children. They should not distribute that responsibility to a DIGITAL device.

    IT Student.

  2. A very bad thing was done with a school tie. A student hung herself using a tie. I am still waiting for the decision to ban school ties. Will Mr Ranuka support this ban too?

    1. If you don’t agree with me thats okay. But you should know that, School boys are going wild with mobile phones. As you are not travelling by buses you don;t know most of them. But we know.

      Go and see things happening around parliament ground. I am not afraid of telling that. People are kissing at public. So at the moment that the situation of sri lanka. We don’t want to make USA or UK here. We want a beautiful country. So to make a better country, some times we have to take rough decisions.

      Different different ppl think in different different ways. I told what i have to say! If you want ban school ties. Try it out! But i dnt think that you can do it! :-D

      Ranuka BathgalaWalaluwe

      1. Buddhika Thambugala

        no cheers you idiot.. a kid died due to lack of mobile phone (or authorities denying his right to use it).. i’m so sorry it was someone else’s kid NOT yours, cos you kid needs to die for you to feel the gravity of the issue. What’s wrong with kissing in public? does anyone get hurt? Banning phones in schools KILL people and you (and many other oxy-morons in the country) are fine by it.. shame on you, and shame on Lanka..

  3. Ranuka, very wild things happen inside washrooms also, not the very least of which is suicide.

    Shall we ban washrooms as well?

    And Ranuka, kissing in public is so shameful, no? Shall we then start with destroying Sigiriya with those carvings of naked women and kissy-kissy engravings?

    What do you say?

  4. banning the mobile is not the thing to do. it is teaching kids to use it responsibly. even an exercise book can be misused, you can scribble obscenities, tear pages off hit people with paper balls, write love notes, but we know how to use it responsibly don’t we?

    and just as that unfortunate father pointed out the mobile provides an essential link between the parent and the child. (this is not distributing responsibility to a DIGITAL device, it’s using a digital device to keep in contact with the child, the responsibility still lies with the parent)

    most adults are of the opinion “we didn’t have those things when we studied (ape kaale oowa naa)”. that’s true but that’s coz the technology wasn’t available. if it did would they have used it?

  5. I do agree with Renuka– Mobile phones are immoral things.

    I suggest Ministry of Education fund smoke signaling systems so students can communicate with their parents. Since smoke signals are transmitted publicly there is no room for abuse and dd BAD things with them.

    When we were kids we didn’t have toy mobile phones. We used to make “Tin Kiri Tin” telephones. Tie each end of a long nylon string to used condensed milk cans, you have a non-digital, no-camera, no MMS, no-SMS and very safe communication device.

    Ministry can introduce TKT Telephones too.

  6. To mobile phone or not to mobile phone, that is the question… What about open communications with children, sex ed, open discussions, opinions and allowing them to think and decide what is right and wrong… this country is going on a wrong tangent.

    1. yes that is what i was trying to say. We should make our students attitudes good. Parents can do that.And they have the responsibility to do that.

      Every One should use the technology, there is no doubt about that. But They should understand what is correct what is wrong. And they should use them for good. But people in Sri Lanka never understand that.

      First of all “I” Must be GOOD. Then we can talk about “WE”


  7. Who benefits from banning mobile phones in schools (for students and teachers)? Perhaps the payphone operator who is quickly installing phones at this time? Does the payphone address the needs of children coordinating travel arrangements from tuition classes and such?

    I keep going back to the need for schools to provide lockers for students, if they wish to keep the school hours mobile-free. They are within their rights (even if not right) in controlling mobile phones during school hours. But do they have the right to control the use of mobiles outside school hours? Is it right to do so?

  8. i’m really amazed by the thoughts of ranuka my good friend.. being just a 20yr old kid,having thoughts of an old man.
    this is not 18th century my frnd…

  9. when we give mobile phones to our kids, it is our responsibility to control the specification of the phone model. IMO if we limit the specs just for calls and sms (all basic models) kids cannot misuse them. Phones with cameras, MP3 players etc. are the problem at this stage and every parent can control this. Why we have to run to mahinda (gov) everytime we have a problem, can’t we sit down and talk to our kids at home and decide how we live our lives…….?

  10. thanks kalpa for remembering me that!

  11. LIRNEasia’s 2007 Teleuse at BoP survey ??????

    Above is not the benchmark by any means. Findings are subjective. One could always challange the research methodology, sample used, questionaire, timing, attitudinal changes since 2007 etc… Hence a decision can not be arrived at based on your claims. A bit of self marketing perhaps? But that’s OKay too… We love ourselves, don’t we?

    That said, I do think banning mobile phone in schools is a BAD decision.

  12. 2008 survey, not 2007. Representative sample of SEC D and E. Fieldwork conducted by AC Nielsen in 6 countries in 12 languages in Oct 2008.

    If we don’t use the results, why do the study? Read the methodology and results (at and challenge if you wish. We can respond.

  13. Reply to Ranuka Bathgala walauwe …

    Hey mate, This is 21st century Sri Lanka and u r living in an old Victorian culture. Can you answer this question Ranuka… If a driver run over a pedestrian, is it ok to ban all the cars in Sri Lanka. Do u think it’s ok, And I won’t be surprised even if u say yes cos of your attitude. Don’t be a “kuhakaya” my friend.

    Most people don’t like to see children using mobile phones is because they didn’t have that luxury in their childhood. It’s simple jealousy.

    What we should do is.
    Allow school children to use mobiles BUT,

    * should be a normal mobile phone (no windows mobile, symbian or palm OS etc etc…)
    * No bluetooth
    * No IR
    * No MMS / SMS

    And school authorities can use the same way they are using now to trace mobiles among school children to check whether they have above services enabled in their mobiles.

    This is a disaster cos just one incident led to banning all the mobiles in schools. Shame on jealous parents and jealous government. Technology should be freely available to everyone in Sri Lanka BUT strickt rules and regulations should be applied for people who are misusing it.

    Wake up Ranuka..! Its a brand new day in year 2009.

  14. Taleban Chinthanaya

    Ranuka’s responses show how far Taleban Chinthanaya has gone. Ranuka is not the only one who has been brainwashed. There are many more who have lost their heads. I won’t be surprised if we see a Sinhalese-Buddhist Taleban preventing girls right to education. Supporting mobile ban is just the harbinger.

  15. More bans on the card

    සැප බස්‌වල අපචාර හා අනඟ රැඟුම් වැළැක්‌වීමේ
    පියවර වහාම ගන්නවා

    මධ්‍යම පළාතේ මේ තත්ත්වය වැඩියි

    සිරිල් විමලසුරේන්ද්‍ර

    මධ්‍යම පළාතේ සුඛෝපභෝගී (පෞද්ගලික) බස්‌ රථවල සිදුවන කාමුක අපචාර නැවැත්වීමේ වැඩපිළිවෙළක්‌ වහා ක්‍රියාත්මක කරන බව මධ්‍යම පළාත් මගී ප්‍රවාහන අධිකාරියේ සභාපති ඩී. බී. රත්නායක මහතා පෙරේදා (20 දා) පැවැසීය.

    සුඛෝපභෝගි බස්‌රථවල පසුපස ආසනවල තරුණ තරුණියන් ඉතා ජුගුප්සාජනක ලෙස කාමුක අපචාරයේ යෙදෙන බවට තොරතුරු ලැබෙන බව රත්නායක මහතා පැවැසීය.

    තමා විසින්ද මේ තත්ත්වය වරක්‌ නිරීක්‌ෂණය කරන ලදැයි පැවසූ රත්නායක මහතා මෙම කාන්තා හිංසනය බහුලව සිදුවන්නේ මහනුවර- මාතලේ – නාවලපිටිය සහ මහනුවර- කුරුණෑගල යන මාර්ගවල ධාවනය වන සුඛෝපභෝගි බස්‌රථවල බව පැවැසීය.

    මේවා මධ්‍යම පළාත් මගී ප්‍රවාහන අධිකාරිය මගින් බලපත්‍ර ලබාගන්නා බස්‌රථ බැවින් ඒවායේ සිදුවන සිද්ධීන් පිළිබඳව සොයා බැලීමේ හා මගී ජනතාවගේ සදාචාරය හා ගෞරවය තහවුරු කිරීමේ අයිතියද අධිකාරියට හිමි වන බවද රත්නායක මහතා කීය.

    සුඛෝපභෝගී බස්‌ රථවල පසුපස ආසනවල සිදුවන මෙම කාන්තා හිංසනයට පෞද්ගලික අතිරේක පංතිවලට සම්බන්ධ තරුණ ශිෂ්‍ය ශිෂ්‍යාවන් දැනුවත් කිරීමේ වැඩපිළිවෙළක්‌ ක්‍රියාත්මක කිරීම අවශ්‍ය වී තිබෙන බව ද රත්නායක මහතා කීවේය.

    තම බස්‌ රථවල පසු පස ආසනවල සිදුවන අපචාර කටයුතු පිළිබඳව එම බස්‌ රථවල රියෑදුරන් සහ කොන්දොස්‌තරවරුන් අවධානයෙන් සිටිය යුතු බව පැවසූ රත්නායක මහතා සුඛෝපභෝගී බස්‌ රථවල හිටගෙන යන මගීන් නොමැති බැවින් පසු පස ආසනවල සිදුවන කටයුතු බස්‌ රථයේ රියෑදුරාට කන්නාඩියෙන් දැකබලා ගැනීමට පුළුවන්කම තිබෙන බවද කීවේය.

  16. Everyone,

    We have 18 wannams in our traditional dancing. Don’t they mimic mating between animals. I am surprised to see that authorities allow TV shows with traditional dancing :-)

    We should ban dancing too.

  17. The same minister (CB) is trying to ban beef sales in Sri Lanka.