NPC Opposition Leader issues clarification on Uduvil School crisis article

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Northern Provincial Council Opposition Leader Sinnadurai Thavarajah issued a clarification about the article titled ‘Uduvil School crisis raised at Northern Provincial Council’, which appeared in the 24 September 2016 Daily FT issue.

Thavarajah takes issue with the opening paragraph of the article, which states that the “The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) on Thursday denied an opposition motion requesting Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran to intervene in the Uduvil Girls’ College crisis, where students and parents have been protesting against the appointment of a new principal for the school.” 


“I have not brought any motion in the NPC on that date with regard to ‘Uduvil Girls’ College’ as stated in the article. A motion, according to the standing order of the council, after the debate by the members has to be either approved or rejected by the council,” Thavarajah noted in his right of reply addressed to this newspaper.

The NPC Opposition Leader claims that the article carried distorted facts and gave wrong information to the public on what happened in the NPC on 22 September 2016.

The following are excerpts of his clarification in this regard.

What I did was I read out a statement under the agenda item of the standing order ‘Matters of Public Importance’ with regard to Uduvil Girls’ College based on a written  complain given to me by the parents of the school.  Any matter raised under ‘Matters of Public Importance’ does not need to be approved by the council. It is only informing the council of a particular matter that in the opinion of the member is a matter of public importance. Such a motion should be accepted by the Council Affairs Committee as a matter of public importance before it is being tabled in the agenda.

In my statement, I have not requested the CM to intervene in this matter as referred to in the said article. During the course of my speech I emphatically stated that all what I say was based on a complaint made to me by the parents of the school and that I had no idea about the bona fide of the complaint. Hence I made a request to the CM to appoint a committee to find out the truth with regard to these complaints. At the commencement of my speech, I categorically stated that I am fully aware that Uduvil Girls’ College is a privately managed school and I knew very well that the Provincial Council has no authority to intervene in the administration of the school but what I intend to submit was with regard to the law and order situation which is a subject matter of the provincial council.

Although there was continuous disturbances during the course of my speech by five out of about 25 councillors present, the Chairman suggested to hand over the complaint of the parents to the ‘Public Petition Committee’ of the council for its consideration. In fact, the Public Petition Committee, which is a standing committee of the council, is more powerful than a committee appointed by the Chief Minister.

Accordingly, I submitted the complaint to the Chairman, to be forwarded to the public petition committee. The complaint is now pending before the public petition committee.

REPORTER’S NOTE: The word ‘motion’ used in the opening paragraph of the article was not meant to reflect a procedural motion. This is clarified both in the headline of the article and in the succeeding paragraphs, which explicitly states that Mr. Thavarajah had raised the issue as a ‘matter of public importance’, and further clarifies that he was not requesting the Chief Minister to interfere in the issue but only raising the Uduvil school crisis as a law and order issue. However, given Mr. Thavarajah’s clarification, the opening paragraph will be altered to correct the procedural anomaly of using the word ‘motion’ and replaced with ‘proposal’ in the article’s online version.