Activists, journos urge to include Tamil speaker

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A collective of civil society activists and journalists have made an open request to the Parliamentary Council to recommend a Tamil speaker to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as a member of the Right to Information (RTI) Commission, which has a vacancy since last December.

The Second RTI Commission, headed by retired Justice Upali Abeyratne, was appointed by President Rajapaksa last December. Attorney-at-Law Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, retired President of the Court of Appeal Justice Rohini Walgama, Attorney-at-Law Jagath Liyana Arachchi, and Open University lecturer Dr. Athulasiri Kumara Samarakoon are members of the Commission.

But not a single member who can speak Tamil fluently is included in the commission. Because of that, Tamil-speaking persons, especially in the North and East, are facing difficulties when they communicate with the RTI Commission, they stressed.

Meanwhile, Dr. Samarakoon, who was nominated by the Parliamentary Council, resigned soon after being appointed. A request has been made to the Parliamentary Council to nominate a Tamil-speaking person to fill this vacancy.

The Parliamentary Council received 22 nominations to recommend to members of the RTI Commission. There are seven Tamil-speaking persons including Senior Attorney Nadvee Bahudeen, Jaffna University lecturer Dr. S. Raguram, and Attorney-at-Law Aingkaran Kugadasan.

By Rifthi Ali