American tea firm threatens to leave over estate superintendent’s murder

Tuesday, 9 July 2013 00:45 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The American company managing the Nooriya Tea Estate in Deraniyagala, Sri Lanka has informed the government that it would leave its operations in the country over the killing of the estate’s superintendent. Sri Lanka Planter’s Association has told the BBC Sinhala Service that the Texas-based American company managing the tea estate, Walters Bay International, has informed the Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe that under the present environment they cannot continue the management of the Estate. The superintendent of the tea estate, Nihal Perera, 71, was hacked to death last Friday by a group of people who were reportedly against the measures taken by the estate manger to curtail corruption and wastage. The police believe a group of five assailants backed by a local politician had attacked Perera and two others. Perera died of his injuries and the other two are receiving treatment at Karawanella Hospital. Reportedly the former chairman of Deraniyagala Pradeshiya Sabha Anil Champika Wijesinghe and other ruling party politicians were alleged of interfering with the management of the estate. The chairman of the Planter’s Association, Nisala Jayawardena has told BBC that the police did not arrest the real suspects of the crime. The local politicians have allegedly attacked the deceased plantation manager two months before the incident and the police had failed to arrest the culprits, Jayawardena said adding that following that incident he has informed the Minister and the police but no action was taken. “If justice was done at that time he (the estate manager) wouldn’t have died like this,” Jayawardena said. The Planter’s Association chairman pointed out that the estate manager died for working against corruption and theft to protect the government property.