Sinhalese appointed East's Chief Secretary
[TamilNet, Friday, 06 April 2007, 02:00 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse has appointed Mr.Herat Abeyeweera as the Chief Secretary of the de-merged Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) on the recommendation of Provincial Governor Rear Admiral (retired) Mohan Wijayawickrema. The new appointment has come into effect from April 1 Sunday to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Mr.R.Thiakalingam who held the post for two months since the de-merger of the North East Provincial Council (NEPC).
Mohan Wijayawickrema holds the post of Governor for the EPC and acting Governor for the North Provincial Council (NPC).
Mr.Thiakalaingam has been appointed Secretary to the Provincial Public Services Commission (PPSC) for the eastern province with immediate effect, sources said.
The new Chief Secretary, Mr.Abeyeweera, earlier served as the Government Agent of Amparai district in the eastern province.
Meanwhile, Amparai District Civil Groups' Forum has expressed deep concern and dissatisfaction over the appointment of a Sinhalese to the post of Chief Secretary of the EPC replacing a Tamil and not appointing a person from Sammanthurai who has won the respect and confidence of Tamil and Muslim people in the province.
The Forum said the appointment of a Sinhalese Chief Secretary is another attempt to bring the eastern province dominated by Tamil speaking people, under majority rule.
The Forum questioned the Muslim leadership that had supported the de-merger of the North-East, why they are silent when a Sinhalese is appointed the Chief Secretary of the EPC instead of a Tamil speaking person, sources said.
When late Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike, founder of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and S.J.V.Chelvanayakam, leader of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK), signed the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam (B-C) pact in
1957 to grant regional council status to the North and East, no Sinhalese represented the eastern province in the parliament. The present Sinhala electorates in the east, Digamadulla in Amparai district and Seruvila in Trincomalee district have not been carved out at that time.
Mr.J.R.Jayawardene who opposed the B-C pact argued at that time that the implementation of the B-C pact would give Tamils in the North-East a separate state. Mr.Jayawardene was at that time the leader of the UNP and the leader of the opposition. He later became the Prime Minister and the first Executive President
Soon after the abrogation of the B-C pact, the successive governments of United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) vigorously implemented state- aided colonisation schemes in the districts of Trincomalee and Amparai and settled Sinhalese peasants from the south despite the opposition by the ITAK led by Mr.Chelvanayakam.
With the appointment of a delimitation commission in 1970, new electorates were carved out in the names, Digamadulla in Amparai district and Seruvila in the Trincomalee district for Sinhalese settlers. Since then Sinhalese are elected to parliament from Digamadulla and Seruvila from the east.