School heads punished for ignoring memo
[TamilNet, Friday, 20 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The heads of 23 Tamil schools, in the predominantly Tamil area of Ambagamuwa in the Nuwara Eliya District were denied their monthly salaries today for not answering a circular in Sinhala sent by the Education Department of the Central Provincial Council last year, said sources in Nuwara Eliya.
The circular which was sent by Dept. Of Education of the Central Provincial Council was meant to ascertain the details of the schools in the Ambagamuwa area.
The heads of the schools, who are all Tamils, had not replied the circular either as a mark of protest or because they could not understand what was said in it.
Despite Tamil being recognised as an official language following the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987, much of the official communication of the Sri Lanka Government, the Provincial Councils and the local authorities is in Sinhala. This practice prevails even in areas that are predominantly Tamil.
Tamil citizens also complain often of receiving Sri Lankan Government letters in Sinhala, or having to make statements to the Sri Lankan police in Sinhala.
Tamil MPs regularly complain in Parliament about the plight of Tamil citizens and officials who are not conversant in Sinhala.
But the Sinhala officialdom defends itself, saying that it lacks adequate facilities for translation. The Official Language Commission has tried to take steps to implement the regulations on language that is in the statute books, but up to now has made little headway.