NorthEast Local Election circulars printed in Sinhala only

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 January 2011, 13:34 GMT]
Sri Lanka Government has issued circulars and directives for the forthcoming local council elections printed in Sinhala only, sources in Jaffna said. Election officials in the NorthEast are undergoing enormous difficulties in interpreting the directions and procedures to conduct the elections. Civil society sources said that Colombo appears to be imposing Sinhala only policy especially following the recent controversy after forcing the Jaffna Tamil school students to sing the Sri Lankan national anthem in Sinhala.

Jaffna election officials complained that they need to seek officials proficient in Sinhala and that the translation process may take more than a week.

In the NorthEast, only a handful of qualified election officials remain after the war, and the imposition of Sinhala is likely to further alienate these officials by creating language difficulties in executing their day-to-day work obligations, civil sources said.

During a tsunami remembrance event in Jaffna, school students were ordered to ‘sing’ the SL anthem in Sinhala only for the occasion. The students clad in Tamil traditional dress, veaddi and chealai, said that they were never accustomed to sing the Sinhala anthem before, but were rigorously ‘trained’ in the last two days for it and were forced for the performance.

The function, ignored by the public and participated mainly by officials, made SL minister Douglas Devananda to comment that public in future should be prepared for participation.


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