A number of Divisional Secretariats countrywide organising in-house ‘Avurudu Utsawa’ on Monday, May 1st have raised concerns of many, as it was an attempt to prevent government employees from attending the May Day rallies, the Daily Mirror learns.
A number of DS offices in the three districts of the Western Province as well as in other provinces are scheduled to organise their Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrating events on May Day, which was not the common norm before. The Daily Mirror learns that a number of Divisional Secretaries have received either verbal or informal instructions to organise their Avurudu Utsawa for 2023 on the coming May Day, from a top state office in the country.
Trade Union members of these DS offices said that it was a move by the government to refrain staffers from attending May Day events, as they have been asked to attend the Avurudu Utsawa with their family members. Upon inquiry officials from the Maharagama and Kelaniya Divisional Secretariats told the Daily Mirror that they have not made this mandatory for their staffers to attend the Avurudu Utsawa but could do whatever they like to do on the May Day.
When contacted senior lawyer and former Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Prof. Prathiba Mahanamahewa told the Daily Mirror May Day had been declared by the International Labour Organisation as the sole day for the workers worldwide to voice their rights.
“Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebration is a prominent cultural aspect of Sri Lanka, which could be celebrated within a week long holidays. And the only day of the year for the workers to voice their rights is the International May Day.
Therefore, letting the workers to celebrate their rights at least on the May Day should be given priority by any institution including the state bodies without clashing the day with any other programme,” Prof. Mahanamahewa said.
Efforts made to contact the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government for comment was not successful. (KURULU KOOJANA KARIYAKARAWANA)
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