Day: Fun sans struggle
By Nilika Kasturisinghe and Harinda Vidanage
The government is preparing for a novel celebration of Workers Day
on May 1, replacing the traditional political rally with a day of
relaxation for workers and their families. The National May Day
on Thursday will commence at 10 a.m. and go on the next day, with
a targeted 300 trade stalls, musical shows, dramas, and Hawker Street,
with five star cuisine made available on the pavements.
union leader, Minister Gamini Lokuge said "May Day has always
been celebrated with struggle and demand. We want to change that
practice and take the country towards a productive path."
The day projected to draw crowds of half a million will take place
around the CMC and Victoria Park premises. Traffic arrangements
will be made with parking provided.The trade stalls will include
36 BoI stalls selling products at duty free prices.
There will also
be agricultural products to be sold at cost price. Rice, vegetables
and fruits will be available as well as clothing. Twenty stalls
will be set up at the Public Library premises. A flower show will
also be held. A film depicting the services rendered by labour leaders
since Independence will be screened while the drama 'Sinhabahu'
will be staged free of charge at the John de Silva Theatre at 2.30
p.m. and 5 p.m.
with a free kiddies carnival will be open free of charge. A disco
and talent show will be held with an art exhibition at the Art Gallery.
The National Museum will be open free of charge. A free health camp
and a tennis tournament by the SLTA for those aged six to sixty
has been organised with a wrestling and gymnastics display. A go-cart
race will be held in front of the Town Hall. There will also be
a vintage car show.The celebrations will culminate in a musical
show with Indian and Sri Lankan artistes.
The May Day
this year will be celebrated without politics, Labour Minister Mahinda
Samarasinghe said. The Prime Minister has mooted the idea as a "Tribute
to the Workers", and a May Day Committee was appointed with
Minister John Amaratunga as Chairman, by a Cabinet Paper in March.
Labour Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Tourism Minister Gamini Lokuge,
Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku,
Minister M.H. Mohamed and several non-Cabinet ministers were appointed,
along with Colombo Deputy Mayor Azath Sally to this committee.
People's Alliance will hold its May Day rally at the Campbell Park,
with a procession starting from the Chandra Silva grounds at Kotte.
The chief organizer of the PA rally, Western Province Governor Alavi
Moulana told The Sunday Times that while the UNP government is trying
to hide the woes of the working class by organizing tamashas the
PA will be closely addressing the hardships of the workers.
want to draw crowds by providing attractions. All committed people
will attend our rally and they will not be provided even with a
bottle of water as an inducement” he said. This year there
will be only one PA rally in the country.
In a May Day
message Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapakse said that he categorically
condemned the violation of the rights of workers and will be making
an issue of this. Mr. Moulana said that President Chandrika Kumaratunga
has personally set the theme of the PA rally with three components,
'Freedom for All', 'Protection of Human Rights', and 'Meaningful
At the last
meeting of the committee President Kumaratunga had said that she
expected a crowd equal to that of the March 10 joint opposition
rally.There were speculation that a JVP member would address the
PA rally in the wake of an attempt to form an alliance between the
SLFP and the JVP.
Moulana said that as the JVP is holding a separate rally with the
participation of foreign visitors, it was difficult to link up with
the PA. The JVP rally with a procession from the S.de.S Jayasinghe
grounds, Dehiwela at 12 noon, will hold its meeting at the B.R.C
grounds at 4.00 pm. with its theme " Let's build a people's
power to defeat the division of the motherland, plunder of its national
resources, pruning of workers rights, re-colonialism by imperialists
and win national independence and genuine peace" Meanwhile
the National Workers Congress is to hold a non-political rally at
its workers centre in Dehiwela at 10.00 am.
The theme for this year's meeting is "Peace through unity of
attack on attractive nurse
An attractive trainee nurse attached to the Colombo National Hospital
suffered burn injuries on her face after an unknown female assailant
threw acid on her while she was reporting for work, police said.
pupil nurse from Rambukkana has been undergoing training over the
last six months in Colombo. The acid attack came while she was leaving
to work from her boarding house at Punchi Borella.
Police conducting investigations told The Sunday Times that a woman
wearing a helmet had fled on a motor cycle after throwing a liquid
substance on the nurse who suffered an unbearable burning sensation.
She had then rushed back to her boarding house and washed her face
with cold water to no avail.
arrested a suspect - the nurse's ex-boyfriend - who had reportedly
been threatening he would not let her marry anybody else. The affair
had blossomed during her student days in Rambukkana. The boy had
been against some of her latest endeavours in modelling and objected
to her new acquaintances in Colombo. The nurse had then broken up
her affair with him and allegedly had associations with two other
boys, one of whom she had met on a train.
PC R.A. Lakshan
of the Maradana Police said police have yet not been able to establish
the person behind the attack due to conflicting information. The
nurse's two recent acquaintances are also being investigated for
possibly having had a hand. So far only one suspect had been remanded,
but he denies any involvement in the attack. Meanwhile the nurse
is still recovering at the Burns Unit of the Colombo National Hospital.
appeal on MIA after new disclosures
The Association for Families of Servicemen Missing in Action has
appealed to the Government to address the issue of servicemen missing
in action following revelations by an EPDP member of more captives
in LTTE custody after he escaped from an LTTE detention centre.
states that though many appeals have been made to the successive
Governments no genuine effort has been made regarding the missing
"The Association hoped that with the commencement of Peace
Talks that this important humanitarian issue would have been one
of the foremost items on the agenda.
even though it had been brought up at one of the sessions, there
seems to have been no in-depth preparation and the answer given
by the LTTE was readily accepted", it said. The families claim
that the revelation by the EPDP member renewed hope in the families
that their loved ones are still there.