- Forest officer Jayathilaka wins support for valiantly defying politician’s order from to sign off protected mangrove land to build playground
- Cabinet spokesman says any public official upholding law has Govt. support
- Environment Minister too supports Jayathilaka
The President, Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers are with the Forest Department officer who defied State Minister of Fisheries and Inland Fisheries Industry Sanath Nishantha Perera’s order to grant land from a protected mangrove land in Negombo to build a playground, a senior Minister said yesterday.
“We are with any public official who upholds the law and carries out their official work diligently,” Cabinet Spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said, adding that since taking office, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has reiterated to public officials to do their work in the best interests of the public and in keeping with the law.
Gampaha District Assistant Conservator of Forests Devanee Jayathilaka became the cynosure of all eyes after she took on State Minister Perera at a meeting on Wednesday, asserting she will not carry out any illegal orders. Wide support grew for her on social media, after a video of her taking a principled stand against the politician and his supporters at the meeting went viral.Meanwhile, Minister of Environment and Wildlife Resources S .M. Chandrasena too defended the Forest Conservation Officer, saying she had done the right thing by explaining the legal position with regards to obtaining land that comes under the Forest Ordinance. “The State Minister must be unaware of the law,” Chandrasena said.