Attacks on SLRC personnel
Jathika Sanga Council warns Mahinda of dire consequences
by Norman Palihawadana

The Jathika Sanga Council yesterday warned President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government of dire consequences if they turned a blind eye to a violent campaign against Rupavahini workers following an incident Minister Mervin Silva and his bodyguards created at the Rupavahini Corporation on Dec. 27, 2007.

Referring to Singalowada Sutta, Ven. Dutuwewe Lankananda, the Secretary of the Council said that the ruling coalition would have its imaged irreparably damaged, should it allow the minister and his goons to target workers with impunity.

The monk said if this was the fate of an institution which represented the interests of the government and stood by the Mahinda Chintanaya, the fate of others went without saying. Expressing shock, dismay and anger at the continuing wave of attacks, the Council said the governmentís failure to put an end to attacks was tantamount to its complicity in them.

Police spokesman DIG N. K. Illangakoon yesterday claimed there was no need to question Minister Mervin Silva in connection with Fridayís attack on Rupavahini employee Anurasiri Hettige. He was the fifth Rupavahini employee to be attacked since late January.

Illangakoon said Rupavahini employees in their statements to police investigating attacks on workers subsequent to the incidents at Rupavahini on December 27th had not mentioned the minister as a suspect.

But, Kanchana Marasinghe of Rupavahini dismissed the police spokesmanís claim. He accused the police of turning a blind eye to attacks on workers there and giving a free hand to the Ministerís gang.

Poddala Jayantha of the Silumina newspaper asked whether the government couldnít take action against the Minister due to some kind of agreement with him. He severely criticized the government and the police for their reluctance to deal with the minister.

Meanwhile, the National Trade Union Centre has called a special meeting to discuss ways and means of pressuring the government to act against the Minister. The meeting scheduled to take place on March 18th would be chaired by JVP trade union heavyweight Lal Kantha.

The JVP unions have already threatened to cripple the Rupavahini operations unless the government puts an end to attacks on SLRC personnel.

The JVP frowned on the attempt by police to shield Minister Silva. When the entire media community accused Minister Silva of instigating attacks on Rupavahini workers, the Colombo police seemed powerless to pursue the investigations, it said.

Sumathipala Manawadu of the Organisation for the Protection of the Properties and the Rights of Railway Employees also demanded action against the perpetrators of violence against the Rupavahini workers.




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