By Rathindra Kuruwita
Chief Minister of Uva Province Chamara Sampath Dassanayake, who is facing a Human Rights Commission probe for allegedly making Badulla Tamil Girls’ School Principal, R. Bawani kneel before him, has sent her a letter of demand for tarnishing his reputation.
In this letter the Chief Minister has demanded Bawani to pay him Rs. 500 million. Civil Society Groups and Trade Unions say that Chamara Sampath has been attempting to intimidate his victim ever since the incident was published in the media.
“The latest attempt at intimidation is the letter of demand sent on February 17 and it is an attempt to silence a witness in a case before the HRCSL,” said Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights (CHR), one of the two organizations which filed a case against Sampath at the HRCSL.
Tennakoon said the Director General of Welimada Education Zone had also attempted to intimidate the Principal.
General Secretary of Ceylon Teachers Union Joseph Stalin said the CTU and other organisations that filed a case at the HRCSL, expected the government to rein in the Chief Minister.
Dassanayake is accused of having forced Bawani to kneel before him on January 2018 after she refused to comply with his request that a student be admitted to her school. Later that month he stepped down as the Uva Province Minister of Education until the conclusion of the probe against him.
Dassanayake was not available for comment.