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10th January 1999
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pic 01
Many unregistered vehicles have been 
seen in the Wayamba province. A number of
these vehicles participated at a cycle race which 
took place in Anamaduwa last Friday. 
Pic by Sanjeewa Niroshana
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Police protest over Cabinet note

By Frederica Jansz
Police Chief Lucky Kodituwakku has protested to the Ministry of Defence over moves to change the recruitment and promotions scheme for senior officers on the grounds that it would cause grave injustice to them.

He said that a new Cabinet memorandum modifying the existing schemes would result in a large number of Sub Inspectors, Inspectors and Assistant Superintendents of Police not receiving their due promotions.

Mr. Kodituwakku's reservations are contained in a letter he has sent to Defence Secretary Chandrananda de Silva on November 13, last year.

The IGP, in his letter to the defence secretary asserts that an injustice has been caused to 22 Assistant Superintendents of Police preventing their due promotion to the rank of Superintendent of Police, through no fault of their own.

The 22 ASPs have not been promoted for the past 10 years due to a 1993 cabinet memorandum. This was seen as a deviation from the normal practice and was adopted to satisfy emergency measures to strengthen the security in border areas.

In November 1993, 30 ASPs were promoted to the rank of SP Grade II on a supernumerary basis. This was during the regime of President D.B. Wijetunga who offered an incentive to ASPs with a minimum of four years service, if they serve in operational areas. 

In June 1994, 45 ASPs were promoted to SP Grade II under the same criteria.

Investigations by The Sunday Times reveal that the purpose for which these officers were promoted violated the 1993 cabinet memorandum as most of the officers promoted were not posted to operational areas. Instead, it is alleged that many of these supernumerary promotions were made to accommodate political favourites.

The 22 officers (ASP) who are now facing a dilemma were not promoted in 1994 to the rank of SP Grade II as they did not volunteer to work in the northern and eastern provinces.

However, since their promotion to the rank of ASP in 1989 they should have been recommended for promotion in 1997, as they had by this time completed eight years in service as an ASP. 

The former IGP W.B. Rajaguru did not make the necessary application based on the 1987 Cabinet Memorandum. They have now been in service as ASP for 10 years and have appealed to the new IGP to recommend them for promotion.

The IGP says the approved scheme of promotion of ASP to SP Grade II used to be on completion of eight years service. Later this was brought down to six years on a directive given by the Secretary Ministry of Defence on December 9, 1993. This memorandum indicated that the promotion to the rank of SP Grade II by all officers appointed to the rank of ASP in 1987 should be brought down to six years. Even this memorandum has been disregarded as far as these 22 officers are concerned.

The IGP asserts that the predicament of these 22 officers is in no way due to any fault on their part as they have not been found guilty of any departmental lapses or subjected to any criminal action and have a clean record of service todate.

IGP Kodituwakku recommends a principle rule be applied of six years and to grant promotions accordingly taking into consideration their actual dates of promotions to the rank of ASP. 

The IGP maintains that as a matter of general principle, the system of granting promotions from ASP to SP should be according to the original scheme and not be revised constantly as it creates unnecessary problems within the Police Force. 

The Sunday Times was told that the Police Inspectors Association one of the largest welfare groups in the police force met IGP Kodituwakku on Tuesday and complained that some 95% percent of police officers' right to promotion would be hampered as a result of the memorandum. 

For the past four years there have been no promotions for more than 300 Chief Inspectors. During this period only some 19 Assistant Superintendents of Police have been promoted.

The new memorandum specifies that merit promotions for Chief Inspectors and Inspectors will be judged only after eight years. 

It also states that to qualify for the post of ASP, candidates should be either Chief Inspectors or Inspectors who have completed 10 years of service as Inspector or Sub Inspector.

Violence escalating in run-up to polls

By Shelani de Silva
With less than two weeks for Wayamba provincial polls, independent monitoring bodies are calling for measures to curb the escalating violence which could reach the peak on the election day. 

Two independent poll monitoring groups have recorded more than 150 incidents of violence from the province with Anamaduwa, Mundel, Kuliapitya and Mawathagama being the worst affected.

As a measure to curb violence, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) will begin a week-long public awareness programme on electronic and print media from today. Their campaign would include naming those people who were said to be perpetrating violence in the province. 

Until Friday, the CMEV had recorded 151 incidents, 40 among them being assault cases. PA supporters were alleged to be responsible for 87 incidents while UNP supporters allegedly account for 32 cases. In 31 cases the perpetrators are unknown.

The incidence of violence in the Province has increased by 51% in comparison to the 1997 local government election campaign.

Meanwhile PAFFREL has so far recorded 106 incidents of violence with the UNP reporting 89 incidents.

According to PAFFREL Executive Director Kingsley Rodrigo, two of their officials will monitor the polls from outside the polling booths. 

"Since we are not allowed inside we will have the officials outside," he said.

Mr. Rodrigo said a mass campaign denouncing election violence would take place next Saturday (16) at Angulathane.

Curfew after polls?

More than 4,000 curfew passes have been printed on a directive of the Ministry of Defence and sent to all Police Stations in the North Western province, to be distributed if the need arises.

If a violent and volatile atmosphere prevails after the elections, the necessity to impose curfew might arise and therefore curfew passes have been distributed to the Police Stations, Police sources said.

Security arrangements for the elections have been made with plans to utilise more than 6,000 police officers. 

In the event, these numbers are insufficient more police officers from other Police Divisions to the Wayamba Province would be brought in, a senior police officer from Wayamba said.

Ranil calls for APC to monitor elections

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday proposed an All-Party Committee to oversee a violence-free poll in the North Western Province.

He made the offer at the inaugural UNP rally in Wennappuwa. 

"If President Chandrika Kumaratunga is committed to free and fair elections as she claims, the UNP would immediately name its two members to the proposed committee," he said. According to Mr. Wickremesinghe's proposal the committee should comprise members from the UNP, PA, JVP, Liberal Party, ULF and SLMC as well as representatives from organizations campaigning against or monitoring polls violence.

He offered the opposition's full backing if the government wanted to introduce contingency legislation for this purpose. 

"If the government refuses to heed my call, the UNP will not run back in fear. People should have the right to elect their representatives. The UNP would continuously agitate against all anti-democratic forces, and preserve and protect the rights of the people through peaceful means," he said.

Suntel, Bell hit by SLT go-slow

By Ayesha R. Rafiq
In a move that would hit Suntel and Lanka Bell subscribers, engineers at Sri Lanka Telecom have launched a go-slow to protest against alleged unfair treatment meted out to them by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC).

N. A. G. Senanayake, Secretary of the Telecom Engineer's Union said they launched a work-to-rule campaign on Friday to prevent destructive measures against Telecom being implemented.

He said the effect of their trade union action on Telecom customers would be minimal. But those who use Lanka Bell and Suntel lines would be affected in the event of link or line failures connected to these private phone companies. "We would take a longer time to restore the connection," he said. 

SLT customers may have some difficulty getting through to Lanka Bell and Suntel lines in such situations, he said. Suntel Marketing Director Manilal de Mel said they were being punished for the Telecom union's problems with the regulatory body. "We are unhappy because our customers are being penalised," he said.

The Telecom union alleges partiality in the granting of frequencies for Wireless Local Loop (WLL) systems by the telecom regulatory body.

Mr. Senanayake said that SL Telecom had requested a larger bandwidth in the WLL to enable them to give lines to the rural areas more economically or they be given a frequency in the 1800 Mhz bandwith, which was granted to Suntel and Lanka Bell because equipment used in the 800 Mhz by the SLT would soon be outdated.

Both these requests had been denied. A TRC official said the larger bandwidth could not be granted to SLT as it would then infringe on and limit the expansion of frequencies used by cellular phone networks.

He said the 1800 Mhz frequency was not granted to them as it had already being utilised by Suntel and Lanka Bell.

"SLT is the monopoly supplier of the Wire Line system, while the two other companies have a duopoly in the supply of WLL lines. SLT was supposed to be only a temporary supplier of the WLL system in Colombo and in a longer term to remote areas where Suntel and Lanka Bell are not functioning. The frequency they already have is adequate for their purpose," the official said.

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