DLB take-over notice still not printed
by Shamindra Ferdinando
"We will not print the disputed gazette unless Media Minister Imitiaz Bakeer Markar decides to reverse his previous ruling," a government press source said. The Government Press re-opened on May 12 after a 48-hour closure caused by a mob attack on the premises.
There has been no subsequent directives from the presidents office, he said, adding that the office did not bother to communicate Attorney General K. C. Kamalasabeysons opinion on the gazetting order to Nanayakkara as it did not favour her.
The president maintained that her order remains legal and valid even if the government forced Nanayakkara to ignore her directive by using a goon squad, a presidential secretariat spokesman said.
Responding to questions, he said that Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe has not responded to the presidents recent letter justifying her take-over decision. The presidents letter dated May 13 was in reply to the premiers May 9 letter rejecting her directive to the Government Printer while reminding her that she could not change subjects assigned to various ministers without consulting him.
Their comic battle over the DLB captured front-page attention of national newspapers and the electronic media upto May 17 flash floods, the worst to hit the country.
Political sources said that both parties will try to avoid further clashes over the DLB as they grapple with the Tigers latest demand an interim administration with adequate authority and legal status to pave the way for them to attend the forthcoming two-day Tokyo Donor Conference.
Meanwhile, IGP T. E. Anandarajah has directed SP Sarath Lugoda, Director, Colombo Crime Division (CCD) to probe the attack on the government press. "We have already recorded statements of employees including the Government Printer in this regard," a CCD spokesman said.
Senior representatives of various unions too were questioned and their statements were recorded, he said. The CCD has been asked to establish the identity of the persons involved in the attack. The president in her last communication to the premier accused Interior Minister John Amaratunga of directing the mob, an allegation vehemently denied by an aide to the minister.
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