Interestingly, Thondaman decided to express his displeasure when on stage before commencing his speech at a function organised by Rajapaksa’s Ministry.
Rajapaksa visited the Nuwara Eliya District on March 30 to promote the Divi Neguma programme commenced by his Ministry. Thondaman and several other governing party members attended the ceremony.
Minister C.B. Ratnayake and Navin Dissanayake were notable absentees at the ceremony.
When the ceremony got underway, Thondaman and Rajapaksa were seated together on the stage, talking.
However, it was only when Thondaman was invited to make his speech that he decided to make his complaint standing behind the mikes.
He spoke in English and said he was disappointed that the programme printed by Rajapaksa’s Ministry was only in Sinhala.
He said the Ministry should have remembered that Tamils, Muslims and people from various ethnic groups reside in Nuwara Eliya. He added that the government needed to be more sensitive to such issues when carrying out its public work.
Thondaman displayed the programme to the crowd and said he was sad that Rajapaksa’s Ministry had done it without thinking twice.
He then said that the Assistant Agrarian Service Director from Hanguranketha had invited him for some event and the invitation was in Sinhala.
He complained that he could not understand what was written in the invite.
Thondaman called on Rajapaksa to ensure that the Tamil language was included in all state documents.
He then said that it was a request by him on behalf of the CWC to the government to be mindful of the matter.
After making this statement, Thondaman commenced his speech for the event in Tamil.
Everyone present at the event was surprised to see Thondaman standing up and making a public complaint over the non-inclusion of Tamil in a state organised ceremony.
Government officials present at the occasion had looked at each other and whispered as to why Thondaman made such a public complaint when he could have easily complained to Rajapaksa while sitting next to him.
Be that as it may, supporters of the main opposition contender at the recently concluded local government elections have accused Thondaman of inciting communal sentiments among the Tamil community in the Nuwara Eliya District.
According to UNP sources, Thondaman had used the ethnicity of the main opposition contender to win votes from the Tamil community in the Nuwara Eliya District.