One of Sri Lanka s proud sons who first went in search of enlightenment in saffron robes but then realised that one had a duty to emancipate not just one`s self but the oppressed brethren of his nation gave his life in the frontline recently.
Nineteen year old R.M.Sanjeewa Bandara who was ordained as Ven. Dunukewatte Sumana Thera at the Hataraliyedda temple was attached to the Sinha regiment. He was killed during a confrontation with the LTTE in Adampan last Thursday just four months after he joined the military.
`My son came home last month after passing out from the Boosa military camp. I never thought I would not see him again. I prayed to the gods to protect him every day and night. We weren`t aware about his decision to disrobe and join the army. He had prepared the documents himself and only told us after he was enrolled. But our blessings were always with him,` the grieving mother W.G. Podimenika said.
`When we heard he was shot and admitted to the Anuradhapura hospital, we immediately hired a van and went to the hospital only to find him dead,` she sobbed. A resident of Kiralessa, Denadora in Dambulla, Sanjeewa Bandara hails from a family that has sacrificed much for the country. He was the second in a family of three sons.
His elder brother is also a soldier in active duty in the Kalmadu area while the youngest is still schooling. Their parents R.M.Nawaratne Banda (45) and W.G. Podimenike have no regrets for sending their sons to the battle field.
Undoubtedly, Sanjeewa who was cast in a heroic mould made up his mind to give up robes and join the army through his love for the country. His death brought much woe and sorrow to his village.
Residents of the area who flocked to Sanjeewa`s house on hearing the shocking news said Sanjeewa`s parents struggled for existence as farmers.Considering the plight of his parents it was surprising that young Sanjeewa gave up his robes and joined the army.