It took more than a week for President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to move on the Uva Province Chief Minister Chamara Dasanayake who abused in bad language and forced a female Principal to kneel because she refused to implement a request that violated established procedure.
In footage that’s gone viral since, the Principal of a Tamil school in the Uva Province, R Bhavani tearfully related how Dasanayake had abused her for refusing to comply with directives that violate standard procedure, sparking outrage from civil society activists as well as local politicians.
Calls for his removal went unheard and unacknowledged for more than a week and as things stand the abusive politician still remains as Chief Minister of the province.
Dasanayake refuted the charges against him and claimed that he had merely called her to his official residence to inquire into allegations of discrimination against children of other faiths.
He told the media at his office that it was absolutely a false allegation that he threatened and forced a principal of Tamil Girls’ Maha Vidyalaya, Badulla, to kneel down before him. He claimed that the Principal had merely ‘saluted him’ in traditional fashion just before she left.
Ms Bhavani, although later confirming the Chief Minister’s version, was clearly distressed by the incident, raising suspicion that fear of reprisal had compelled her to change her story.
Meanwhile UNP Badulla District MP Vadivel Suresh upon visiting the school told the media that it was wrong of the Chief Minister to make a woman visit his official residence. He added that abusing her in bad language and being racist was the second fault, the third being forcing her to kneel.
‘The fourth is threatening her and forcing her to lie to the media and the fifth is making it impossible for her to continue to work in her school,’ he said.
Ranjith Keerthi Tennekoon of Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) alleges that Secretary, Ministry of Education, Uva Province was complicit in twisting the narrative in the Chief Minister’s favor. He also alleges that journalists attached to the Provincial Council were held in a room and compelled to affirm this narrative and that relevant log entries had been removed.
Dasanayake has so far not indicated that he will resign as Chief Minister. Neither has President Sirisena, leader of the political party Dasanayake belongs to, stated that any disciplinary action would be taken against him.