Two journalists, who went to cover the UPFA and SLFP election rally in Badulla under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday (Jan. 28), have complained to the police that they were threatened and chased away from the rally.
Kapila Kuruppuarachchi and Jayalath Dissanayake, who had gone to cover the rally for the media institutions Sirasa and Derana, said they were threatened and chased away by the Public Relations Officer of the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva Ajith Hikkaduwa Liyanage.
Journalist Kapila Kuruppuarachchi told BBC Sinhala Service that the reporting the incident of Uva Chief Minister Chamara Sampath Dassanayake forcing the Principal of the Tamil Girl’s School to kneel down is the reason for the hostility.
Ajith Hikkaduwa Liyanage, however rejecting the allegation said he only asked the journalists why they did a one-sided report on the kneeling incident.
The Uva Chief Minister has been accused of having called Principal of the Badulla Tamil Girls’ School R. Bhavani to his official residence and forced to kneel before him reprimanding her for not admitting a student to 1st grade as per his order.
The Public Relations Officer of the Minister had also sent a letter to the principal requesting to admit the student to the school.
“We do not want media like, you are the ones who worked against us in the past, so do not come here,” Minister’s Public Relations Officer has told the journalists.
“Today, I make the welcome address of this meeting. If you are there I will say that the two people who opposed us are here and they are the ones who attacked the Chief Minister. Then we don’t know what people will do. Even your homes will be in trouble, we will not be responsible for that,” Journalist Chandana Kuruppuarachchi quoted the Minister’s aide as saying.
Following the altercation, the journalists have turned away without going to the meeting and have made a complaint to the Badulla Police.
Commenting on the allegations, Public Relations Officer of Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva Ajith Hikkaduwa Liyanage said that he only asked the journalists why they made a biased report on the kneeling incident since the Uva Provincial Council Chief Minister Chamara Sampath Dassanayake is a friend of his and they are involved in political activities together.