(Lanka-e-News, 2008 March 18, 9.45 PM) Several trade union representatives that took part in the discussion with the President yesterday (17) said to Lanka-e-News that yesterday’s happenings proved that the Minister Mervin Silva was behind the intimidation of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) while the executive President was defending him.
The discussion with the President Mahinda Rajapakse commenced on 5.45 PM yesterday (17) and ended around 7.15 PM.
SLRC, Lakehouse and Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation trade unions participated in the discussion with the President, two media Ministers, Inspector General of Police, Deputy Inspector Generals, Attorney General, Government Information Director, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse and Basil Rajapakse.
The President wanted to open the discussion with the Lake House but Lake House Workers Union representative Dharmasiri Lankapeli proposed to begin with the SLRC since the problem was there. Lake House SLFP trade union leader Sunil Disanayaka directly said that his union would not go with the SLRC issue.
When SLRC Programme Producers’ Union Chairman Kanchana Marasinghe requested to mediate to stop the intimidations against the SLRC staff members, the President simply said that he was unable to involve in and be responsible of the acts of the drug dealers.
The President said pointing his finger towards the trade union representatives that Minister Mervin Silva’s head had a big injury, left nose bone was fractured and he was bathed in a liquid mixed with urine. He further said that he had the faces of those who did them.
The trade union representatives said that the two media Ministers did not support the President when he reprimanded the media for highlighting Minister Silva as a criminal. But the Inspector General of Police supported the President’s attempt to portray Minister Silva as innocent party.
The IGP and the Attorney General sat close to the President and a seat was empty between them. When Minister Mervin Silva’s name was repeatedly mentioned, the President gave a phone call to Minister Silva and asked where he was. The reply was that he was in Kelaniya, but amazingly arrived in within 15 minutes and seated on the empty chair. Gotabahaya and Basil Rajapakse took their seats before he entered.
As Minister Silva entered the house, the President was stating that the SLRC incident was pre-planned, Sirasa and a mob from Kotte had entered the SLRC premises, there were no proof of an attack by the Minister and all these were in accordance with the plans of anti-government and pro-Tiger elements.
In response to the President’s clarification Minister Mervin Silva said that he would never go against the President and Sirasa carries out such propaganda against those who safeguard the government. He further said that the attack on him at the SLRC was pre-planned. He said that the government would not collapse since Ranil’s stars are not in lucky positions. He said Mervin was the problem for all and he had stopped going along the road in front of the Castle hospital.
Then the President asked why Minister Silva was not going before the Castle hospital. Minister Silva said that it was because Castle was a maternity hospital.
The President, the IGP and some others laughed loudly at this joke. Nevertheless, Senior Presidential Adviser Basil Rajapakse took a stern stand and said that the Minister should put a halt since tomorrow.
The dialogue is as follows, as Lanka-e-News learns:
Mervin: “How can I stop something I did not do?”
Basil: “No, you should stop it. When you are out of the scene, the police will apprehend the culprits.”
Mervin: “It is wrong. I have no connivance with the underground goons. I want maintain the good names of my children.”
Basil: “These incidents tarnish the good names of the President and the government. Therefore, you must withdraw.”
Mervin: “How can I withdraw from something I am not involved?”
The President intruded at this point and said that the Minister promised to help the investigation. He winded up the meeting stating that he could not be responsible if someone was attacked while going home from the discussion.