Cinemas Asked to Keep Box Seats Open

Sri Lanka Police is again in the news. Yes, again. This time by ordering the “box” seats given to “couples” in cinemas to be made “open” and visible to the others from all sides. This violates the very basic need of a box. Box seats are made available worldwide in cinemas, opera houses, theaters, stadiums for the viewers to get an uninterrupted entertainment of the event they came to, be it a movie, an opera, a drama or a sporting event. But in Sri Lanka boxes are used mainly by lovers who cannot afford a room in a guest house or scared to go to one. This doesn’t mean that others also use the box seats for better viewing experience. Their right to use a box seat also should be protected.

The police had been compelled to bring the new rule as an underage girl had been raped in a box seat in a cinema in Gampola by her boyfriend. Apparently, the boy is an adult (20.) This raises eyebrows of many. Molesting a minor by an adult even with the minor’s consent is an offence and that has to be punished or prevented. Some sort of mechanism like checking the identity card (if suspected a minor) should be ordered to the cinema owners and if the rule is broken the cinema should be punished. An outright order of dislodging a box seat is not the answer as the box seat is created for another purpose.

Besides the way that the news item has been titled is also of great concern. It says “Girl raped while watching Siri Parakum.” This implies that the movie also is responsible for the crime. They should have used something like “Girl raped while watching a movie” instead.

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