Issuing a farcical statement, President Maithripala Sirisena’s Media Unit said the President appointed a committee to look into media reports claiming a family in the Galenbidunuweva area, in the Anuradhapura district, survived eating ‘drumstick leaves’ during the drought.
The press release, however, was silent on how much public money was spent on the “committee” that looked into media reports on the family.
The English version of the Press release issued by Sirisena’s office said, “President Maithripala Sirisena, paying his prompt attention to this matter, appointed a committee in this regard and instructed the members of the committee to speedily investigate on this issue. According to the findings of this committee, it was revealed that the media institutions have published this story without clarifying the authenticity of the incident. “(sic)
“This family has been receiving Samurdhi benefits, and has obtained drought relief distributed to the drought-affected families. The head of the household, Mr. B. Piyasena has also received care for Kidney disease ,” the statement also added.
The press release, which is written in a garbled language, also went on to add, “The Government is concerned about the inconvenience caused to the people due such irresponsible reporting and the government requests all media organizations to commit to responsible reporting that does not mislead people.”
“Statements from the District Secretariat, Divisional Secretariat, Agrarian Services Department, Agricultural insurance Board, Development officers, Agriculture Research Assistants and other officers of the government have been used in this inquiry, and all of them confirmed that the true circumstances have been misinterpreted,” Sirisena’s media division stated.
A senior official within the Sirisena administration who wished to remain anonymous told Colombo Telegraph that the appointment of a committee to look into the media report was nothing but a ‘King Kekille move.”
“After an extensive inquiry, this so-called committee has come up with the finding that this family ate many other things too, in addition to drumstick leaves. I mean, what kind of a farce is this? Doesn’t the President have any important work to do?” the enraged official asked.