By Olindhi Jayasundere
The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) which accounts for 52% of the country’s revenue will stop all its functions throughout the country tomorrow in protest against the government’s failure to take action against the brutal attack on M.H Denzil, the Matara Deputy Tax Commissioner which took place last week.
The Joint Committee of Trade Unions of the Inland Revenue Service said that the main and regional officers of the IRD through out the country will stop all their functions tomorrow with the employees taking sick leave, and the department will take further action on Wednesday by quitting all of the department’s field work which accounts for more than 50% of the departments functions.
“The IRD Deputy Commissioner of Matara was openly assaulted in a bus a week ago. He was thrown on to the floor of the bus, kicked and punched with knuckle dusters. If the authorities are not taking action against the culprits who did this, how can we be sure that this won’t happen to us? We are taking these measures to ensure the protection of all Inland Revenue Department officials,” member of the Inland Revenue Service Union, H.A.L Udesiri said.
Head of the Inland Revenue Staff Officers Association, Sarath Abeyratne said that only 3% of the population in Matara and Hambantota pay taxes and that investigating their files can easily be done. “Despite this, they have not yet looked into the files. The fact that they have done such little gives us reason to believe that there might be some political influence attached to this incident,” he said.
“We have given orders to the Matara IRD office to ensure that there is no replacement for Mr. Denzil since after all his position is not safe. If they continue to remain idle without taking action then we will take further measures. It will have a serious impact on the country but this is what we will have to resort to in order to be heard,” Inland Revenue Deputy Commissioners, Sarath de Costa said.
Abeyratne said that they have informed the President, who is the Minister of Finance, the Deputy Minister, Treasury Secretary and other officials but that they have not responded to the incident at all. “If they do not care about the people then we cannot do our work because we are too afraid to. IRD officers have been threatened and assaulted in the past but never to this extent. This type of violent behaviour could continue not only in our department but in other institutions as well,” he said.