Wimal accused of sexual harassment
Lake House employee transferred to Anuradhapura following revelations
Complaint made to President Rajapakse in writing
Minister Yapa's wife summons victim and advises her to go on leave
Weerawansa accused of abusing girl in filth for alleged leak
Wimal's wife is alleged to have told victim she is aware of husband's weakness for phone action
(From Left) Letter of transfer issued by G.M, ANCL Mahinda Rajapakse, Weerawansa's wife, Wimal Weerawansa
By Vimukthi Yapa
Incriminating evidence has emerged against firebrand JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Wimal Weerawansa for alleged sexual harassment of a 24-year-old Lake House employee.
And the scandalous tale indicates that the pontificating politician has been in the habit of telephoning the innocent village girl from Polonnaruwa whose job at the Lake House was secured by Weerawansa, though he allegedly requested for sexual favours from her afterwards.
What is more, for having resisted his overtures and for a news item that appeared in a newspaper linking her to Weerawansafollowing some comments made by the opposition in parliament, the MP had threatened her by phone and allegedly claimed that her entire family would be wiped out.
The immediate result of the publication of the news item terribly impacted on the girl. She had been immediately transferred from the VDT Unit, Lake House where she worked as a computer operator to the Anuradhapura branch with effect from October 31.
With authorities failing to assist her in her hour of need, the victim has now sought justice from the highest in the land.
In an emotional appeal to President Mahinda Rajapakse, she had claimed that she was transferred simply due to a personal vendetta which had nothing to do with her work.
However, the matter that never came to the public glare first emerged in parliament when an opposition parliamentarian heckled the holier-than-thou Weerawansa about not allowing an innocent village girl to continue with her employment at Lake House.
The UNP parliamentarian who dredged the matter told parliament that it was sad to have a group leader of a leading political party allegedly demanding sexual favours from an innocent village girl who only sought assistance from him to find herself a job.
For a man who loves to drag others down, and interested in publishing sometimes even non existing sleaze and scandal about those who do not subscribe to his views, Weerawansa has allegedly made a habit of giving amorous calls to the said girl.
The victimised girl (whose identity is withheld due to ongoing investigations) in a hand written letter to President Mahinda Rajapakse on November 11 had claimed that she had been transferred out from the VDT Unit of Lake House with effect from October 31 without any prior notice.
Her letter of transfer further instructed her to report to the Provincial Editor/Anuradhapura Branch.
According to the transfer letter issued by General Manager, ANCL, Abhaya Amaradasa, the said girl had been transferred to the Anuradhapura branch office with immediate effect. No explanation was provided to her, even when she asked as to why no explanation was offered, except to say they were acting according to the orders received.
Lake House inside sources confirmed that the transfer was effected as a direct result of the political interference by Weerawansa who simply wanted the girl removed following his harassment issue becoming a topic of discussion among opposition parliamentarians and even reaching the newspapers.
The said girl had been attached to the VDT Unit at Lake House for over a period of one and a half years in the capacity of computer operator.
According to her letter written to President Rajapakse, it is alleged by her that her transfer was a direct result of a personal vendetta. (A copy ofthe letter sent to the Presidential Secretariat was obtained by The Sunday Leader which is being reproduced in full to endorse authenticity of facts.)
A native of Polonnaruwa, she is currently pursuing higher studies and is therefore residing in Colombo as travelling is easier.
She alleges that her name had been linked to a leader of a prominent political party in a news item which appeared in a Sinhala newspaper thereby triggering off a crisis that culminated in an act of victimisation.
According to her letter, she had inquired from the Lake House management for the possible reason for her transfer. She further alleges that she was informed that the management was simply carrying out orders from the top which made it impossible for them to do anything else in this regard. According to her, the management had also informed
her that her personal life had no bearing on her work but they were also unable to be of further help.
Appeal to the President
In her appeal to the President, the victimised and harassed girl has stated that she was invited to come and meet Mrs. Anura Yapa, also the private secretary to the Media Minister in order to ascertain the veracity of the story.
Mrs. Yapa, according to the letter had got the young girl down to her office in an official vehicle during office hours. Next she had questioned her as to whether there was any basis to the story.
The girl, upset that anyone should so ask, and hurt by having to defend her innocence had related the entire sequence of events leading up to the death threats at which point the Minister's wife had allegedly offered her a solution.
She had suggested that either she obtain a transfer so that the story in circulation would die a natural death or to apply for leave for about a month and to stay away from work during that period.
The girl however, according to inside sources as well as the contents of her letter, had stood her ground and said that she did not wish to leave Lake House like a coward when she has not done any wrong and in fact was completely free of guilt that she wishedto continue with her present employment.
Now the girl, victimised and with no support from others while the politically powerful persons are creating further problems for her and threatening her with death, has finally decided to quit her employment at Lake House altogether.
The victim it is said, had told confidantes that she was disgusted about the present set up that does not defend innocence and does not assist an innocent employee when she seeks the support of custodians to safeguard both her reputation and her job.
The poor girl elsewhere has stated on record that she was scared to solicit help from anyone simply because those who assist her appear to be wolves in sheeps' clothing, waiting to pounce on her and seek favours of a different kind - the kind that she refuses to grant.
According to the victims' family sources, the victim is related to Shirsha Udayanthi, wife of JVP Spokesman and Parliamentary Group Leader, Wimal Weerawansa. The sources claim that when Weerawansa's spouse and her family were down in the dumps years ago, it was this girl's family that came to their aid.
Family sources maintain that after she completed her Advanced Level examination, Shirsha Udayanthi requested the young girl to be sent to her residence to obtain a good job for her.
Her parents readily agreed to send her given the fact that Weerawansa's spouse had been always close to the family and now her husband was a powerful politician who could help their daughter to obtain gainful employment.
But when the young girl did visit the Weerawansa's, she visited the home she knew which was in Mawaramandiya where Shirsha Udayanthi previously managed a communication centre. Before undertaking the journey, she had allegedly told her parents how happy she was at the prospect of finding herself a job.
She was first given accommodation at Weerawansa's Arewwala home, the house Weerawansa occupied after he left the Mawaramandiya home citing security reasons.
When the girl did go there, the JVP politburo members were also occupying the house. It is learned that the JVP policy makers were given a firm undertaking by Wimal Weerawansa that she was extremely trustworthy and there would be no problems by her staying there.
All hell broke loose however when an opposition parliamentarian jokingly referred to deplorable conduct by Weerawnsa with regard to a Lake House employee just two months ago. The same day Weerawansa,we have it on record, had reportedly called her and told her that she was being used as a cat's paw, to sling mud at the JVP spokesman.
She had reportedly responded by saying that it was they who were creating problems for themselves and for her. It is learned that Weerawansa has shouted at the young girl over the telephone.
Family sources claim that the girl was originally under the belief that somebody would have tapped her telephone and divulged details of these personal conversations to the said newspaper that published the initial story.
The following Monday when she reported to work, she was promptly summoned to the office of Manager (Personnel), Lake House and questioned about the news item. She had said she had no idea as to how the information leaked out and defended her innocence.
However, the manager had suggested that the girl meet Mrs. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa immediately to clear the air, adding that Lake House was good to employees who were good to the institution in return.
During her meeting with Mrs.Yapa, she offered two options, a transfer or one month's leave both of which were refused by the victim who claimed that she had no reason to hide somewhere when she was completely innocent.
The real drama started afterwards. Wimal Weerawansa according to what is onrecord had allegedly called the victim and abused her in absolute filth and threatened to kill her. While the victim who was embarrassed by the call was claiming that she played no role in a possible campaign against Weerawansa, Shirsha Udayanthi, wife of Wimal
Weerawansa had grabbed the telephone and begun using abusive language. She had allegedly threatened the victim would not be allowed to work for more than a few days and further alleged that she would be taken unawares when a great tragedy strikes her soon.
A few minutes later, Shirsha Udayanthi had telephoned the girl again; apologetic for her bad choice of language in the presence of her husband. Her excuse had been to say that her husband was there in front of her at the time, hence the use of
intemperate language.Weerawansa's wife had thenallegedly claimed that she was quite aware of her husband's weaknesses.
An angry wife hadallegedly told the girl according to the evidence on record that the husband enjoyed phone sex and nothing more and admitted to having an affair
with a leading SLFP politician with the blessings of her own husband.
The victim had cautioned that she had no interest in the personal lives of the Weerawansas and simply asked her to be left alone.
But she was not. With those in power managing to hide facts, the girl was instantly penalised. She was unceremoniously transferred to Anuradhapura with no other option or even an explanation.She had further charged that Weerawansa invited her to visit various places with him which she had
The young girl further charges that aman providing security to Weerawansa who is identified as 'Priyantha,' had offered to send her to Japan to ensure both the JVP Parliamentary Group Leader and she were protected from exposure.
Her letter of transfer signed by General Manager, ANCL, Abhaya Amaradasa was delivered to her home thereby sealing the fate of a girl who had been twice victimised by the Lake House authorities at the behest of a politician and the politician himself.
The President on receipt of the letter had been visibly shockedbut has decided to ignore it lest it becomes a political hot potato for him to deal with.
Politico's wife threatened me - victim
The employee’s complaint
to the President
Your Excellency, the President
Ref: immediate transfer from post
I have been employed at the Lake House for over a period of 1 1 /2 years as a computer operator attached to the VDT Unit.
I have been transferred to the Anuradhapura branch of Lake House with immediate effect from October 31.
I am a native of Polonnaruwa and at present happen to pursue higher education in Colombo. To facilitate my education, I am currently residing in Colombo.
Further, I also wish to state that this transfer emanated from a personal vendetta the backdrop for which I seek to explain.
A newspaper recently published a news item linking a political leader's name with that of mine which was the closest reason for the fate that befell me. Despite my innocence, the final outcome had been the transfer which is a huge impediment to my studies.
When I inquired from the Lake House management, I was told that they were simply giving effect to orders from the top and that they were also helpless. Thy further told me that my personal life had no bearing on my employment.
I wish to impress upon Your Excellency, that I have diligently carried out my work at all times and would consider my services still necessary to the institution.
I have also complained to the trade union organisations seeking some redress, once again to no avail. Further, I am also suspicious as to why they were not supportive of me in this instance.
I have also been receiving threats from the wife of the said politician since September 29.Yet I continued to discharge my duties and bore the insults and agonies in silence, as I did not wish to create problems.
But I am compelled to think that my life is now in danger following these incidents.
I am the only daughter of a well-educated family. I am only 24 years of age. My family has for generations been involved in SLFP politics and has served the SLFP interests faithfully.
But what I fail to comprehend is as to why anyone would wish to penalise me based on a news item and even going to the extent of issuing death threats to me.
I do know that subjecting party members to such humiliation and suffering is not the style of our political party. As such, I appeal to Your Excellency to prevent young lives from being destroyed for no fault of their own and I am certain that you would take
all possible action to prevent such things from happening in the future.
I also reiterate that I have never provided information to any institution in a bid to publishing the said news story. I also do not know any of the persons associated with the said news publication and insist that I cannot be bought over and under no circumstances would I lie with regard to anything.
However, Minister of Information and Media, Anura Yapa's wife who also functions as his secretary, got me to her residence during working hours in an official vehicle simply to verify facts.
Because I did not conceal any facts from her and believed that honesty was the best policy, she came to realise that I was innocent in this regard.
Then she asked me whether I would like to go on leave for about a month either for study purposes or to be transferred to a different place. Because I strongly believed that I had done no wrong to be penalised in any manner. I rejected both offers and told Mrs. Yapa that I am not in the habit of running
away from problems, but only in confronting them. What is more, I also told her that I have not done anything wrong to run away.
What is more, I have also informed the Lake House management about the many death threats received by me, to which their laconic response was to simply continue to ignore them.
When there was no action to secure my life, I met my superiors and asked whether it would be appropriate for me to lodge a police complaint with the assistance of my lawyer for my protection.
To my shock and dismay, their reply was that whatever the course of action I decided to take had no bearing on them. They also told me that the Lake House was indeed good to its employees as long as the they were good to the institution.
Your Excellency, I asked them why I was being penalised when I have been good to the institution. In response, they could only say that this was a separate issue and orders from the top had been received.
Do I need to emphasise here your Excellency, the duty of an institution is to protect an innocent employee who is particularly not in the wrong? Yet, I was penalised for no fault of mine. Then whose fault was this?
I find that political leaders who profess to protect the rights of the working class and try to champion their causes are the very ones who abuse their positions to penalise innocent workers simply to settle petty scores.
I beg you to provide me an answer as to how these political leaders could purely act in vengeance and ruin others' lives? Isn't it most unfortunate that this ugly incident of victimisation and harassment occurred during your regime?
I have kept faith inYour Excellency, yet do you also wish to allow injustices of this nature to continue? Would you also allow other political parties to abuse the powers of your government and simply destroy the lives of youth like me?
I also reiterate that this kind of victimisation, if allowed to continue would eventually build to such a level that thousands could fall prey to the dirty tactics of politicians.
I implore your Excellency to prevent the occurrence of such incidents in the future so that innocent people would be spared of the agony of being victimised despite their sheer innocence.
I also urge some action to prevent such things from happening in the future in the name of humanity.
Employee (Lake House)
Penal Code definition of Sexual harassment
According to Section 345 of the principal enactment as amended by Section 5 of the Amending Act No. 22 of 1995, whoever, by assault or use of criminal force, sexually harasses another person, or by the use of words or actions, causes sexual annoyance or harassment to such other person commits the offence
of sexual harassment and shall on conviction be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years or with a fine or with both and may also be ordered to pay compensation of an amount determined by court to the person in respect of whom the offence was committed or the injuries caused to such person.
The repeal section adds two explanations to the above as well.
According to the first, unwelcome sexual advances by words or action used by a person in authority, in a working place or any other place, shall constitute the offence of sexual harassment.
The second explanation is that for purposes of this section, an assault may include any act that does not amount to rape under Section 363 of the Penal Code.