Their statement says,
Condemning disgusting tactics of this regime We the undersigned, wish to strongly condemn both the statement made by the Minister of Labour & Labour Relations in trying to taint trade union leaders who act very democratically as “conspirators and traitors” and the action of the defence authorities in moving the police to once again obtain restrictive orders on the right of the people to have the last rites organised in a manner they would want, in honouring their dead family member and relative.
This is not the first time this regime, stuck labels on dissenting voices, calling them “traitors” and tried to create a social mindset that would justify any harm to such persons if caused by unidentified persons. This did happen during the period of war, to some, before and after their deaths, after they were abducted, after they were tortured and dumped on waysides and after they went involuntarily missing.
Minister Lokuge making a statement carried by the ITN in its 09.30 pm news bulletin on 17 February 2012, after people took to the streets in Chilaw, the coastal belt and the Fort streets in protest against the devastating price hike on fuel, named 03 well known trade union leaders as those who conspire to destabilise this regime.
He projected the Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees’ Union leader as one who conspires with Western countries in pushing the country into instability.
We condemn this cheap and disgusting tactic of this government in meeting the anger of the people, for the very mistakes they made in managing the economy and their plunder of public funds.
We also condemn outright, the tactic used by defence authorities in curbing the right of grieving families to honour their dead relative.
How the family of slain Katunayake Free Trade Zone worker Roshen Chanaka was coerced with political and military pressure to forego their right to have the last rites as they wished, is now public knowledge.
It is uncivilised, to say the least, for an elected government to deny the basic cultural right of a wife and two children to honour their beloved dead, after killing him in broad daylight for voicing his protest against the government’s decision to increase fuel, electricity and gas prices.
We therefore call upon the people to condemn this government not only for their decision to inhumanly raise prices of essentials, but also on their anti people stands adopted at every democratic protest.
This therefore is a call for broader and stronger protests against this government’s undemocratic and inhuman policies and behaviour.
The statement has been signed by Prof Jayantha Seneviratne, Kusal Perera – Journalist, K. Velayudam – President, NTUF, Hasantha Gunaweera – Social Development Consultant, K. W. Janaranjana – Attorney at Law / Ravaya deputy editor, Gamini Viyangoda – Writer and columnist, Dr. Sunil Wijesiriwardene, Dr. Navaratne Bandara, Mano Ganesan – Leader DPF & DWC, Parakrama Niriella – Dramatist and Creative artiste, Chandraguptha Thenuwara – Artist & Academic and Emil van der Poorten – Columnist.