ANCL Progressive Employees Union complains to CID

The Union representatives infront of the CID . Picture by Wimal Karunatilaka

There is no truth in the allegation that journalists are dying in a mysterious manner under the present Government, the President and Secretary of the Lake House Progressive Employees Union, Chandana Bandara and Tissa Dhammika said.

They lodged a complaint at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on December 8 requesting that an investigation be carried out into the false and malicious statement made by Member of Parliament of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Kavinda Jayawardena and the Chief Secretary Prasanna Deshapriya Silva, of the Government Media Employees Union affiliated to that Party.

In this complaint it was stated that on 25 November Parliamentarian of the SJB Kavinda Jayawardena and Prasanna Deshapriya Silva had held a press briefing and said that subsequent to the President and the government coming into power, media personnel were dying continuously in mysterious ways. It was also mentioned that this statement together with some other facts which were false and malicious had been made in a manner that rendered fear in journalists.

Addressing the media subsequent to handing over the complaint to the CID, the President of the Lake House Progressive Employees Union, Chandana Bandara had this to say;

“That journalists are dying mysteriously is a false allegation, there is no sign of such a thing happening. Nothing like that is taking place. The problem we have is that at a time when something like that is not happening why trade union leaders of the SJB are creating such fear and I am suspicious as a journalist myself, as to whether this is part of a planned conspiracy.

In order to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government which was in power from 2005 to 2015, the main slogan used by the opposition at the 2015 Presidential Election was that journalists were assassinated, abducted and media personnel were harassed.

This group which was in the government of good governance then and made such accusations is today in the SJB and the suspicion arises as to whether there is a plan to kill journalists or abduct them in the future.

The reason for this is the assassination of media man Lasantha Wickrematunga. The then Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had assigned the responsibility of this assassination to a certain individual, while in the Parliament. Today that individual is a Member of Parliament of the SJB from the Gampaha District.

Similarly, the leader who established gangs such as ‘Kaha Ballallu’, ‘Kalu Ballallu’ and ‘Praa’ in 88/89 is a Parliamentarian of the SJB from Kalutara District today. So, there are leaders in the SJB today who are capable of carrying out organized planned attacks and murder conspiracies.

“Therefore, we are suspicious as to whether, journalists will be abducted according to a plan and killed and if there is a conspiracy in the SJB to assign the responsibility to the government including the President.”

At the same time, this trade union leader who is making these accusations is the Secretary of the Lake House National Employees Union. He is engaged in spreading falsehoods to ensure that there is unrest among employees of Lake House, thus endangering peace in the organization.

From 2005 to 2015, the institution of Lake House was in a stable financial condition. However, from 2015 to the end of 2019, the administration led by the former Chairman caused the Lake House organization to be totally destroyed financial wise.

For example, changing the existing law, former Chairman Krishantha Cooray paid the wife of former Silumina Editor Chamara Lakshan close to Rs. 5 million on his demise.

The ‘Resa’ newspaper which was begun by the former Chairman, caused a loss of Rs. 150 million to the Lake House, in 2018 only. A sum of Rs. 12 million was spent on constructing four toilets at Lake House. Rs. 2.1 million was spent on putting up curtains in the Chairman’s room. A Brand Promotion General Manager was appointed and Rs. 150 million was wasted. A sum of Rs. 5 million was spent on a digital television screen opposite Lake House. The glass case opposite the reception at Lake House where old newspapers are displayed cost about Rs. 6 million. To beautify the roundabout opposite Lake House, it was leased out to a private organization for Rs. 2.1 million per year. A sum of Rs. 75,000 was paid monthly for its maintenance.

“We are suspicious of the fact that while a number of such frauds and corruption took place during the tenure of former Chairman Krishantha Cooray’s administration, whether the Secretary of the Lake House National Employees Union Prasanna Silva who never uttered a word has indirectly supported these acts by not opposing these fraudulent acts and corruption. Therefore, at a moment when this institution which had collapsed financially during the era of the previous administration is being gradually raised to its former glory by the present administration, Lake House is facing some financial problems now due to the Corona pandemic. At a time when the administration is attempting to solve those problems, the Secretary of the National Employees Union is trying to create unrest among Lake House employees for political purposes.

“Therefore, we request that investigations be conducted in respect of this person trying to create unrest among innocent employees under cover of trade union rights, as well.”

Gayan Bandara, Arjuna Dinesh, Sumith Prasanna, Nalin Weerasinghe and Anura Kumara of the Lake House Progressive Employees Union were present when the complaint was submitted.

The complaint also said that this statement was being circulated on Prasanna Deshapriya’s YouTube Channel as well as through his Facebook Account and it was causing fear of death among journalists. In the complaint it was stated that due to this, trust in the government as well as trust in the supremacy of the law was being undermined.

Since there is a suspicion as to whether the SJB has set up a plan to kill journalists mysteriously in the future, an independent investigation has been requested in the complaint lodged with the CID regarding the statement made by this Trade Union Member.

The Lake House Progressive Employees Union has submitted a CD of the above-mentioned press conference, to the CID as well together with the complaint.

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