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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Sri Lanka Govt. is killing our hopes: Wigneswaran

hopes dashed
  •  Northern Chief Minister claims councillors losing faith in Govt. will to assist with NPC work
  •  Says emotions are being vented through resolutions at NPC
  •  Slams President for refusal to change Chief Secretary of the Province
  •  NPC to send Ananthi to Geneva since she is best suited to speak of disappearances

Dharisha Bastians
Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran says emotions are running high in the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) with members losing faith in the Central Government because it continues to blockade the work of the newly elected body.

Speaking to Daily FT following the adoption of a controversial resolution calling for an international war crimes probe in the NPC, Wigneswaran said President Mahinda Rajapaksa was “killing the hopes” of the recently elected Tamil National Alliance councillors by refusing to grant simple administrative requests made by the NPC.
“The feelings of our members have heightened. I used to speak positively to them after meeting the President. I used to assure them there had been a change of heart where the President is concerned, and they believed me. But the President is killing their hope and their belief, and some are becoming very disillusioned,” the former Supreme Court Justice said.
“In fact they think I was naive to have believed the President,” Wigneswaran told Daily FT.
The Chief Minister had fought hard to tone down the language of the resolution presented at the Council by TNA Councillors on Monday (27), removing for instance the word ‘genocide’ and insisting it be replaced with a softer word, until such an act can be legally proved.

He said that with the Councillors losing faith in the Government’s will to assist the Council with its work, TNA members were giving vent to their feelings by presenting resolutions. “These could set us on a collision course with the Government,” Wigneswaran added, explaining that he had been able to tone down the harsh wording of the resolutions.

The Chief Minister explained that the Government was refusing to grant simple official requests made by the Council, even when they were related to administration. “Due to intervention by a Minister, the President has refused to replace the Chief Secretary of the Province, claiming her union would launch an island-wide strike,” he said.

Wigneswaran, who retired from a career in law 10 years ago, says the Chief Secretary ceased to be part of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service Union the moment she assumed office. “There is no question of the SLAS Union coming to her aid since the Law is clear. Section 31 of the Provincial Councils Act says the Chief Secretary has to be appointed by President with the concurrence of the Chief Minister. If she had been there and I want her changed it is the President’s duty in terms of the Law to replace her,” the Chief Minister said, adding that the island-wide strike on her behalf was a figment of the Government’s imagination.
In addition to the resolution calling for a war crimes inquiry into the last phase of the war, the Tamil National Alliance-run Council on Monday also adopted resolutions to set up a memorial at the final theatre of battle in Mullivaikal and send a NPC Councillor to Geneva to attend the UN Human Rights Council sessions in March.

The NPC has decided TNA Councillor Ananthi Sasitharan, who won the second highest number of preferential votes in last September’s election, will go to Geneva as the Council representative.
“Since Ananthi is best suited to speak about the missing persons having given evidence thrice now, one before LLRC, the other before Navi Pillay and lately before the Paranagama Commission, we resolved to send her as our representative. We believe the fact that she is a woman will also have a positive effect. She will speak through an interpreter,” the Chief Minister explained.


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