CaFFE complains of political victimization

[TamilNet, Friday, 10 October 2008, 15:09 GMT]
Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) in a press release issued Friday condemned Administration of Kelaniya University for illegally interdicting CaFFE spokesperson Mr. Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon to "serve political needs of the government," and called upon "all democratic forces and individuals to condemn and demand the withdrawal of this inhuman decision of the university." CaFFE further said that "Mr. Tennakoon has a clear right to not only partake in public activities such as with CaFFE, but even in open politics, under the University Establishment Code."

Full text of the press release follows: Permanent staff member of the Kelaniya University Mr. Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon who served as the spokesperson of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) was interdicted with immediate effect on a letter bearing number NAE/4/C signed by the Vice Chancellor on 06th October, 2008. We are convinced this interdiction amounts to political victimization, in no uncertain terms. Victimisation of Mr. Tennakoon begins with his role in the monitoring of the Eastern province elections on 10th May, and after his role as the CaFFE spokesperson. After the conclusion of the Eastern PC elections, the Presidential Co-ordinating Director (Media) Mr. Chandrapala Liyanage wrote on the 25th of May to the Chairman, UGC with a copy to the VC, Kelaniya University, asking for a report on Mr. Tennakoon's statement that the Eastern PC polls were rigged and never free, being a public servant in a state institute. Mr.Tennakoon was there after relieved of his responsibilities and transferred to the Examination Department of the university, instigating an internal inquiry. Mr. Tennakoon was subsequently interdicted from service on a flimsy phrase "conduct of indiscipline" with effect from 06th October, with no clear charges framed. This no doubt is the result of the letter written by the Presidential Co-ordinating Director (Media) and that leaves no doubt that the interdiction is purely and completely politically motivated. It should be stressed to all concerned that Mr. Tennakoon has a clear right to not only partake in public activities such as with CaFFE, but even in open politics, under the University Establishment Code that defines the appointments and conduct of university employees that says in chapter XVII, 1.2.1 that, "there is a right to hold membership or take part in activities of political parties or organizations. And in 1.2.2 that, there is the right to expression on political issues (as in radio, news papers, pamphlets and in participating in such programmes). Thus it is very clear that Mr. Tennakoon has not violated any code of the establishment or been misconducting himself. We therefore say the interdiction of Mr. Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon is totally illegal. While condemning the petty efforts of the Kelaniya university authorities in punishing Mr. Tennakoon to serve political needs of the government, we call upon all democratic forces and individuals to condemn and demand the withdrawal of this inhuman decision of the university. Dr Nimalka Fernando,
Mr. Sudarshana Gunawardne, Attorney at Law
Mr. S.G. Punchihewa, Attorney at Law
Mr. Senaka Wattegedara 10th October 2008

 

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