Her husband, who usually comes home after work, did not return. He always informs his wife by telephone if he hasurgent work that would delay him. But no such call came that day. His phone was switched off, which was unusual. Tension builds as time goes on. Friends are contacted and asked for any information. The phone battery may have been dead. She tries to keep calm by believing that he will return but deep down in her mind, she is uneasy. That day begins with the door frequently opened, listening at the door and continuously making phone calls.
He has not arrived even by 9 the next morning. She goes to the Homagama police station with a friend at 10.30 am. They do not take the complaint and she is made to go from pillar to post. Finally, they accept the complaint at 12.20pm, with conditions.
Sandya Eknaligoda’s struggle to find her husband began that day and continued for ten years until September 29, when she attended the hearing of the case at the Colombo High Court. Over these ten years she has travelled a long way, met many people and filed complaints with several organisations to find out what happened to her husband, why was he abducted and who was responsible – and to ensure that justice prevails.
I decided to calculate the distance she has walked over the past ten years in terms of kilometres. I used Google Maps and Free Map Tools to calculate how much she has travelled within Sri Lanka and abroad. Sandya has gone to the courts (Homagama Magistrate’s Court, Avissawella Magistrate’s Court, Colombo High Court and the Supreme Court), government institutions (police stations, army headquarters, CID and Human Rights Commission), press meetings, protests, exhibitions, places of religious worship and foreign travel (Human Rights Council in Geneva, exhibitions andaward ceremonies). In total, Sandya has travelled a distance of 411,220 kilometres in search of justice. This is only an approximate figure, calculated based on what she remembered and what she shared with me. Sandya says the number is more than this.
I have explained the distance of 411,220 kilometres travelled by Sandya through infographics, which are given below.
(Please click on images)