By Achini Ediriweera –
“I don’t want to respond to such a ‘dirty article’. If I decide to respond to “dirty articles’ I too will have to resort to dirt”, says Raththaran aka Rohitha Abeygunawardhana.
According to The Daily News Paper of Sri Lanka, which had re-published my article which was initially published on The Colombo Telegraph, former minister Mr. Rohitha Abeygunawardhana responded to my article claiming it was ‘dirty’. It was also said that he will not condemn himself to such a low level by responding to it. Raththaran aka Mr. Abeygunawardhana further stated that he didn’t read my article himself but instead he was told about it by some other source that had read it.
Raththaran was my late father Former Deputy Minister Ediriweera Premaratne’s staff/driver. My father brought him into politics in and appointed in various positions and he then became a Cabinet Minister of Sri Lanka. He is currently facing charges in relation to corruption and is out on bail.
In regards to Mr. Rohitha Abeygunawardhana’s response there are a few issues that I would like to raise.
When asked about my article you stated that you had not read it yourself and an apparent source advised you about it.
I would like to remind you kindly that especially when making a remark about something as if you have evaluated the subject matter first hand, you must read it firsthand.
Correct me if I am wrong, but unless you read my article yourself, you would not know what exactly is said in my article. Have you heard of Chinese whispers Mr. Former Minister aka #raththaran? You are a well-seasoned man, I am certain you have heard of it. Is that why you thought it was “dirty”? Is this an attempt to sway the focus of the general public waiting to hear your answer to a merely logical question raised as to how you are today; the extremely wealthy man that you are, considering where and how you came? Considering the status of your profession or the positions held by you? Considering the economy of our country? Considering the small time period of approximately 10-15 years, in which you managed to stack up all this wealth?
You said that you do not want to respond to “dirty” articles and resort to the same level. I would like to further state: Mr. Former Minister, if you were intelligent, in my world, you would answer the questions raised. Are you ashamed that you were once a driver? Is that what makes it dirty? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact everyone must reach for the stars for the right reasons.
In addition to that, and most importantly allow me to humbly tell you, that you can mislead the people but you can’t mislead well tuned individuals. I must say your plan is so poor. You did not distract me by giving that irrelevant and unmatched response you gave to The Daily News. You seem to be a well-seasoned man to fool the general public there in Sri Lanka. After all you fooled my father into thinking you are a good human being. I trust you can recall my personality from my younger days and that should be enough for you to know that I am not one to be easily fooled.
For your convenience I will ask this question yet again – Within approx. 10-15 years how did you manage to stack up all this wealth? How is it that a politician can earn that much money, especially in a country like Sri Lanka?
I must also mention that the response I received from many thousands of people on Facebook was overwhelming and humbling. So many thousands from my father’s former districts of Kalutara and Beruwala told me of the hardships they had to go through because of you. Some people elaborated on their horrid experiences with you. Some even cursing my father too for bringing a man like you into their lives by bringing you into politics.
To all people reading this I would like to say that I am absolutely sure that were my father alive today he would be doing exactly what I am doing. No doubt he would have more power than me and would be more efficient. Nevertheless I will still try, for I know how deeply and how much my father truly and genuinely cared about people. I will also try for those thousands of Sri Lankan people from the general public that sent me messages in hope. Despite being tight on time, I have read most of them. I also know what is real and what is not. They have faith in me to help them. After all, many of their lives depend on these issues. No matter how much I try, my conscience will not let me leave this behind. It is our duty as human beings to stand against what is wrong regardless of religion, relationship, race or country.
It is important to state here that it is an embarrassment to say my father appointed a person like him. I know my father will not rest in peace until Raththaran is brought to justice and put in prison for stealing and abusing innocent people. One shouldn’t expect to steal from the innocent man and to flourish in heaven. As my father always said – you affect not just one person, you do not rob from one. You affect and damage generations and generations and that is a curse that will follow you forever.
I want the general public to know that I never planned to release my previous article to the newspapers at all. On the morning of Raththaran’s Court hearing I was casually going through my filtered inbox on Facebook to find an old message which was sent to me at the end of last year by a journalist from The Colombo Telegraph asking me if they could publish this ‘article’ of mine which was initially one of my Facebook status updates. When I saw this old message I responded to it and gave my permission for them to publish it. It just so happened to coincide with the first day of Raththaran’s Court hearing. I therefore believe it is a sign for me to pursue with being a voice for the people. I have nothing to lose and I value untouchable goodness that cannot be robbed, killed or destroyed. It is my human spirit and my conscience.
The onus is on the Bribery Commission of Sri Lanka to conduct this investigation thoroughly and for the legal system to do justice to the people of this country. I urge all those who know anything to come forward – come forward for the country, your children or at the least, your conscience.