Colombo appoints Sinhala Chief Secretary, sidelines Tamils in EPC
Sri Lankan government has appointed a Sinhalese, Mr DMS Abeygunawardena as Chief Secretary of the predominantly Tamil-speaking Eastern Province. Not a single Tamil has been appointed as minister by Colombo. Apart from the Muslim Chief Minister, three Muslims and a Sinhalese have been appointed as ministers to the newly formed EPC. Paramilitary operative Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan is the sole member of the newly elected EPC from the Batticaloa district, but he declined to accept a ministerial portfolio. Instead he has been appointed by the SL President as his ‘advisor’ for the entire Eastern Province.
A former provincial minister, T. Navaratnarajah, was appointed for one of the two bonus seats of the UPFA. The other is a Sinhalese from the Ampaa’rai district.
With the formation of the merged North East Provincial Council the post of Chief Secretary was held by Tamil civil servants, first by Dr K.Vigneswaran, then Mr.V.N.Sivarajah, Mr.G.Krishnamoorthy and Mr.S.Rangarajah.
With the de-merger of the two provinces on a court order in a case filed by the Sinhala extremist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, which was once a constituent of the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), first election to the de-merged Eastern Provincial Council was held in 2008 and Mr.Balasingham was appointed as the Chief Secretary.
He was on extension after he reached his sixty years of age.
The outgoing Tamil Chief Secretary Mr V.P.Balasingham handed over the office to Abeyagunawardene at a function held at the Chief Secretary’s Secretariat situated at Varoathayanakar in Trincomalee on Monday.