The Sunday TimesNews/Comment

17th March 1996




Lankan consulate comes under fire

Lebanon has accused the Sri Lankan Consulate in Beirut of taking illegal measures in the recruitment of Sri Lankan workers, a Lebanese daily, 'An-Nahar' reported.

The Sri Lankan Consulate has been charging $ 300 in form of a security from each recruit. This was against an agreement and the practice should be abandoned, the newspaper quoted, the Director General of Lebanon's Labour Ministry as saying.

"The two governments had entered into an agreement on the procurement and registration of Sri Lankan workers from March, 1, this year. According to that agreement, all Sri Lankan workers in Lebanon should be registered by their employers at the Consulate. Upon such registration, those who are approved by the relevant officers of the Foreign Employment Bureau will be fully insured to the value of $ 3000 for two and a half years.

The agreement stipulates the employers should pay the government $ 260 for the insurance scheme, $ 20 for registration and $ 20 for communications. It was emphasised that this $ 300 should be paid by the employer and not by the employee."

Lebanon has also accused the Sri Lankan Consulate of facilitating the fleeing of Sri Lankans by providing them with Laissez-Passer documents, causing losses to employers in Lebanon.

The Lebanon's Labour Ministry has officially written to the authorities in Colombo to report this matter.

DWC rejoins CWC

The Democratic Workers Congress which had broken away from the Ceylon Workers Congress 40 years ago and formed a rival estate trade union, has decided to dissolve itself and re-join the CWC, a party official said.

He said a resolution for the dissolution of the DWC was moved and approved at a special delegates conference because the party felt it could not achieve it's objectives on its own and could best serve the interests of the plantation workers through a re-merger with the CWC.

Meanwhile CWC leader and Minister S. Thondaman has called a special meeting of the Congress to discuss the re-merger.

Ratnasiri sues Ravaya

Plantation Industries Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake is claiming Rs. 10 million as damages from the 'Ravaya' newspaper for publishing allegedly defamatory reports regarding his role in sugar company deals.

The letter of demand to the newspaper has been sent by the minister's lawyer.

Probe on IV fluids

The Bribery Commission is investigating the controversial Tender for the import of IV fluids, which has caused a major dispute between the Health Ministry and doctors an official said.

It is alleged that an Indian company which got the tender had used unfair means. The allegations have been made by a rival company.

An official of the Bribery Commission confirmed they were investigating the matter but refused to divulge information claiming it was confidential.

Bail refused in PC murder case

The Three suspects in the murder of police constable Nilantha Senaratne have been refused bail by the Minuwangoda Magistrate.

The suspects, Nalin Fonseka, Major Janaka Ritigala and Lt. Madura Wickramaratne, are charged with abduction and murder of police constable Senaratne whose body was found in Narahenpita in August last year.

That happened after casino tycoon Lucky Fonseka was killed in an incident outside the Indian High Commission where constable Senartne had been on guard duty.

Minuwangoda Magistrate K.M.B. Kulatunga said in view of the evidence against the suspects he could not allow bail.

The Sunday Times learns that suspect had asked for special cell for security reasons.

Police said they were looking for another contract killer believed to be involved in the murder of Constable Senaratne.

Father in UAE jail on son's Birthday

By Chandimal Mendis

The four-year-old son was upset as the calls he got every weekend from his father had ceased for some time. He kept asking the mother whether his father has got angry with them. His father Aruna Kithsiri could not call home as usual. He was in jail in Abu Dhabi.

Aruna Kithsiri president of the Abu Dhabi Sinhala Youth Association was arrested on January 21 by the Presidential police of Abu Dhabi for collecting money for the National Defense Fund. He was in jail until he was released last week after being produced before courts.

Aruna had been in Abu Dhabi for over 12 years. Yet he is no multimillionaire as he spent a lot of his money on social service. He always felt for the need of the country than of his own. He could have done many things for his son and the child who is yet to be born. His wife and family advised him and complained on many occasions about his total philanthropic attitude. Aruna carried on his practice until he fell a victim to some sinister scheme.

A lot of people had envied Aruna's work for the country according to his elder brother Rohana Upulananda. "Aruna was disappointed when he heard that he was let down by some of the people he had trusted", he said.

Aruna was arrested on his birthday. His wife in a delicate state of health was in shock for a few days. When the mother heard that his head was shaved and that he was in prison uniform she had broken down and asked, "What crime has he committed to deserve all this?"

On February 27, the day of Aruna's son's birthday Aruna had asked a friend to buy the child gift and send it to Sri Lanka for him. The son was happy about the present not knowing the trauma his father was undergoing.

A real son of mother Lanka he never dodged allegation. He faced them as he did everything for his country in good faith. Natural justice was done. After spending many weeks in jail Aruna was released last week.

Aruna's friends in Abu Dhabi visited him every Friday in jail. They did not forget to call his brother who was in Sri Lanka regularly and keep him informed.

The person who was really pressurised on the whole matter was his brother Rohana. He not only had to console the family members but also had to seek help from all the high authorities for his brother's release.

"I requested everybody whom I thought capable of helping me regarding this matter. After all our country owes him a duty of care as he collected funds not for his personal benefit but for the country" he said.

Ms. B gets Lankan youth freed

Prime Minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike has thanked the President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan for the release of a Lankan youth held for collecting money for the National Defense Fund.

Ms. Bandaranaike earlier made an appeal for the release of Aruna Kithsiri saying that the deportation of the Lankan youth would be considered as a psychological victory for the LTTE.

The letter from Ms. Bandaranaike also said:

"Your Highness is aware that Sri Lanka is presently engaged in a conflict with a terrorist organization called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This organisation is creating problems for our country. Recently, they set off a massive bomb explosion in the heart of Colombo which has seriously damaged the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. There has been universal condemnation of their terrorist activities which have resulted in a heavy toll of civilian life.

Patriotic Sri Lankan expatriates in various countries are making their contribution in various forms to help our government to combat the activities of the LTTE. Mr. Aruna Kithsiri is also one of them. Your Highness will be aware that his activities in Abu Dhabi have not in any way jeopardised the security or the interests of your State.

"In these circumstances, I earnestly appeal to Your Highness to be so good as to release Mr. Aruna Kithsiri on this one occasion. If he has broken the law of the UAE relating to the formation of associations, he could be severely warned. Our Ambassador in the UAE has already taken steps to disband all Sri Lankan associations in order to comply strictly with the laws of the UAE in this respect.

"We are apprehensive, Your Highness, that if Mr. Aruna Kithsiri is convicted and deported, it would be considered by the LTTE as a psychological victory for them and it will demoralise our citizens who are only trying to help our government to combat the serious menace of terrorism which we are faced with. I would be most grateful for a sympathetic consideration of this matter.

"I have not had the pleasure of meeting Your Highness since 1976 when you attended the meeting of the Non-aligned Movement which was held under my presidency in Colombo. I was planning to visit you in Abu Dhabi, but for health reasons, I am not able to do so presently. I hope there will be another opportunity for us to meet."

Continue to the News/Comment page 2

Go to the News/Comment Archive


Home Page Front Page OP/ED Plus Sports

Please send your comments and suggestions on this web site to or to