Nazeer Under Fire

by Easwaran Rutnam

Video image of Ahamed verbally abusing a Navy officer

Eastern Province Chief Minister Nazeer Ahamed is under fire from all quarters of society following his outburst at a Navy officer recently during which he even accidentally hit a child.

State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said the actions of the Chief Minister was unacceptable and that if he had any concerns it should have been dealt with in a more responsible manner.

Navy spokesman Captain Alavi Akram said the Navy Commander had submitted a report to the Ministry of Defence on the incident.

Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said President Maithripala Sirisena was briefed on the incident just before he left for Japan last week.

Ahamed was last week banned from entering military camps and the security forces will also not attend any functions attended by him as a result of the behaviour of the Chief Minister.

The decision was taken by the commanders of the three forces in what was seen as a united stand against the actions of the Chief Minister.

The Eastern Province Chief Minister had verbally abused the Navy officer in public during the opening ceremony of a science lab and computer unit at the Sampur Maha Vidyalayam.

US Ambassador Atul Keshap was a guest at the event while Governor of the Eastern Province, Austin Fernando was the Chief Guest.

Television footage showed the Chief Minister verbally abusing the Navy officer on stage at the event after accusing him of failing to understand protocol.

“If you don’t know what the protocol is just get out from here. You have no right to stop me,” the Chief Minister told the Navy officer.

The Navy officer then attempted to apologise if a mistake was made but the Chief Minister said “shut up.”

“Who the hell are you to stop me,” he added, at which time the Governor Austin Fernando was seen attempting to calm down the Chief Minister. He then went on to accuse the Governor saying he did not know the protocol and as Governor he should be aware of what needs to be done.

“If you don’t understand I know how to make you understand,” the Chief Minister went on to tell the Governor in front of the television cameras.

During the incident a child was also seen accidentally hit by the hand of the Chief Minister when he turned around to verbally abuse the Navy officer who was standing behind him on stage.

It was reported that the Chief Minister was angry over the failure by the organisers of the event, which included the Navy, to initially invite him on stage to present gifts to the children.

He had later made his way to the stage uninvited and confronted a Navy officer who reportedly attempted to stop him from coming on stage to distribute the gifts.

The Chief Minister defended his actions saying it was an insult to him as a Chief Minister not to be invited on stage and that he was embarrassed as a result of what took place.

He said he was later asked to come on stage but the Navy officer attempted to stop him not knowing who he was.

Nazeer Ahamed also said the Governor should have followed protocol and ensured he was invited on stage but the Governor insisted protocol was followed. Ahamed is a deputy leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress but the party said no decision has been taken yet on how the party will react to his behaviour.

The incident did not go well with the Government and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called for a separate report on the incident. Some members of the Eastern Provincial Council are also expected to call on the Chief Minister to resign over the incident. Wijewardene said the Navy is doing an immense service to the public in Sampur, which includes providing drinking water to residents in the area.

He also said that there is no room for anyone to embarrass the security forces who defeated terrorism and sacrificed their lives in the process. Meanwhile, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa issued a statement over the incident. He said the incident which took place in Sampur involving Eastern Province Chief Minister Nazeer Ahamed is serious since it took place in the presence of the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap.

Rajapaksa said the video clip of the Eastern Province Chief Minister verbally abusing a Naval officer at a public meeting in Sampur has appeared in the media and been posted widely on social networks.

“The fact that this ugly incident took place in the presence of the American ambassador has added to its seriousness. The Eastern Province Chief Minister who raised an issue of protocol over his place on the stage can be heard shouting at the naval officer repeatedly using phrases like ‘get out from here’ ‘idiot’ and ‘shut up.’ On a previous occasion when TNA politicians forcibly entered an army camp in the north, the Government went out of its way to portray this as a minor incident and to sweep it under the carpet.

This is now the second such incident. The incidents that took place in the north and in Sampur should not have taken place anywhere in the country,” he said.

Rajapaksa said politicians in any part of the country should not seek to enter army camps without obtaining prior permission or giving due notice.

Likewise, he says, no politician in any part of the country should ever speak to a uniformed member of the armed forces at a public meeting the way the EP Chief Minister spoke to that naval officer.

“Deliberate insults directed in this manner by the political authorities at the armed forces that rid the country of the scourge of terrorism, should stop. We suspect that this latest incident is a part of the project that began in January last year to demoralise our war heroes,” he said.

The former President called upon the Government not to sweep the latest incident under the carpet the way they dodged taking action over the incident in the north. He said it is the duty of the government to formally investigate the conduct of the EP Chief Minister and to take steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur anywhere in the country in future.


10 Comments for “Nazeer Under Fire”

  1. AYMAN

    The Cheap Ministers conduct to say the least is simply disgusting. And that too in
    the prescence of the Governor and and the US. Ambassador.I am happy to note
    the prompt action by the Navy. Rauf Hakeem should take action against this
    rowdy .He is not fit to be a. Chief Minister. Eastern Province Muslims who elected
    him should be ashamed and now they should kick him out.

  2. jonathan

    Has Sunday Leader forgotten Lasantha, Ponnambalam and many others were killed by by forces in civil? And thousands of tamils and some sinhalese also kidnapped Don’t be proud of that. Forces have no role in civilian functions and if they did it is military rule as in Eastern province.If chief minister of a province ca not attended his functions what else he could do. rather than apologising he should go , he has self respect. Surprised to see an article by Putnam in Sunday leader.

    • sam

      YOU ungrateful idiot if not for the forces you may not even be alive today. YOU should be thrashed within an inch of your life for being so disgusting.

  3. shorn de silva

    Military rule – I believe : What chances Tamils have their missing ones.
    What business Buddhist monks have in demanding apology from Nazir
    They think they are above everyone else and also they military. Can someone think clearly and stop army, navy airforce from involving in civilian life in east and north1

    • sam

      How stupid then why should the forces come to the help of the people in an emergency like in a flood situation because those are also civilian things. Don’t talk like and idiotic imbecile. The CM forced his way into not having done any thing just to get credit it is disgusting that we have ministers like this totally uneducated

  4. Gobba

    True this CM needs to be axed and reprimanded for his repugnant behavior while holding such a high civil office. But WHY are the guilty in the past like Weerawansa. Muttehitegama, gnanasara, Sihala Ravaya who NOT ONLY abused but ASSAULTED, THREATENED POLICE , STF personnel NEVER CAME UNDER FIRE ? Why this cacophony of protest ONLY NOW. Is because this involves a MUSLIM ? Is this being done with a RACIST OBJECTIVE ?

  5. Sinhalaya

    Why did not the PM call for a reprot from the Governor and Ambassador for the USA who were observing this rash behaviour of the Chief Minister? Is it well knowing that both of them would give an adverse report? PM is a shrewd smart cookie and will shape up matters even by sacrificing the Military or the Governor! Wait and see.

    • sam

      don’t be silly the American will not give an adverse report because they also want to ridicule our forces

  6. Hadeniya

    This is a one sided report. Why was the Chief Minister not invited to the event? The Governor should have known protocol in events like this. After all the Chief Minister has been elected by the people, whereas this Governor, as he himself has pointed out, has survived six administrations. That says a lot about him.

  7. daggy

    CM’s behaviopur is for all to see including USA Ambassador. Was this behaviour attributed to USAID involment in the east ?????????

    Wonder how the Governor has survived (06) Administrations? Must indeed be a good ballllll squeser

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