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Army to Construct House for Rizana Nafeek Family Without Destroying Existing Home:Foundation Stone Laid on Friday by Parents

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In a significant gesture welcomed by residents of Shafi Nagar in Moothoor the Sri Lankan Army has commenced work to build a new house for the family of Rizana Nafeek who was unjustly executed in Saudi Arabia on January 9th 2013.

In a simple ceremony attended by residents of Rizana’s village Shafi Nagar,officials,Religious leaders and military personnel the foundation stone was laid formally on Friday January 25th 2013.

Rizana’s father Mohammed Sultan Nafeek and Mother Fareena Nafeek jointly laid the foundation stone in an emotion charged atmosphere.

The new house would be constructed in the property belonging to the Nafeek family where they now live in. The dwelling consists of a attle and daubed hut and cadjan roofed shed.

It was to alleviate the family’s poverty that the eldest daughter Rizana went to saudi Arabia as a housemaid at the age of 17.Her particular aim was to build a house for her family.

Rizana’s mother Fareena who was overwhelmed by the occasion where her daughter’s dream was coming true broke down and cried after the foundation stone was laid.

She entreated the military officials present not to destroy the existing home even as they built a larger comfortable house for the family.

“This was the place where my daughter was born and grew up. I want the memory of that to be with me forever as I move about that place. So please dont destroy that when you build a new house.Let it remain for our remembrance of Rizana” said the mother in Tamil.

The military officers who were moved by the request assured the mother that they understand her feelings and would not touch the dwelling and allow it to be as it was.

The Sri Lanka Army 22 Division Trincomalee district commander Brigadier Aruna Wanniarachchi was the “chief guest” at the foundation stone laying event. The 22 division is responsible for construction of the house.

The Division’s 224 brigade comprising “sappers” will undertake construction work under the supervision of Brigade commanding officer Colonel.Vikum Liyanage.

The Eastern Provincial Council will also liaise with the Army on the house construction project

The orders for the army to construct the house came directly from President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He gave such orders to avoid bureaucratic hassle and construct the house speedily without delay.

The president met Rizana’s family members at “Temple Trees” on January 22nd where he informed them that a house would be constructed by the Army.

The President also gave two cheques of Rupees Five Lakhs each to the mother and father of Rizana respectively on the occasion. He also gave a letter of employment to Rizana’s brother Mohammed Rifquan who is currently 21 years old. He has been given a job at the Ministry of Foreign Employment promotion and welfare and will take up employment in Trincomalee at an affiliated institution of the ministry.

Meanwhile the chief opposition United National Party(UNP) will bring a vote of no confidence motion against Dilan Perera the minister of Foreign Employment promotion and welfare. The UNP alleges that the minister had failed miserably to safeguard the life of Rizana Nafeek. The minister Dilan Perera says he did everything possible to save her life.

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

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