Teachers’ union demands arrest of Uva Chief Minister for threatening a Tamil female teacher

The teachers’ trade union in Sri Lanka says that teachers and principals are ready to go for union action if the Uva Chief Minister is not arrested for threatening and humiliating a female principal of a Tamil girls school in Badulla.

Uva Province Chief Minister Chamara Sampath Dassanayake had summoned the Principal of the Badulla Tamil Girls’ School, Bhavani Ragunath and reprimanded her for disregarding an order sent by him to admit a student to a school. The Chief Minister has allegedly made the principal kneel and apologize to him.

Addressing a media briefing yesterday, the General Secretary of Ceylon Teachers Union Joseph Stalin said the action should also be taken against the Chief Minister for not only threatening the Principal but also for coercing her to make a false statement.

Mr. Stalin said that the Provincial Education Secretary had summoned the Principal to the Provincial Council and informed her to make a statement to the media on January 9.

The Ceylon Teachers Union has lodged a complaint with the Police and the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission requesting an immediate inquiry into the intimidation of the Principal by the Uva Provincial Education Secretary, Provincial Director of Education and Badulla Zonal Education Director.

The union secretary said a letter was also sent to the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration to take immediate disciplinary action against the provincial education officials who forced the principal to make a false statement regarding the incident with the Chief Minister. He said the union will be watching the actions taken by the Ministry.

Mr. Stalin said such pressure and intimidation of Principals and teachers should be condemned and urged that strict action should be taken against those who act in a manner that degrades and belittles the teaching profession.

Meanwhile an official of the Human Rights Commission has said that the Commission has begun a probe taking into consideration the media reports in connection with the kneeling of the Principal and acknowledged that the Ceylon Teachers’ Union too has lodged a complaint regarding the incident.

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