Former civil servant Devanesan Nesiah officially returned the “Deshamanya” award conferred to him by President Maithripala Sirisena today.
Dr. Nesiah and his daughter handed it over to the Presidential Secretariat last evening. Talking to journalists, Dr. Nesiah said he decided to return the award as he was disappointed with the recent actions of the President which created chaos in the country. Dr Nesiah received the Deshamanya in 2017 at a ceremony held to confer national honours. As per the letter he sent to the President earlier, he said his decision isn’t one that he had taken lightly, or in haste.
“I always acted in accordance with my principles that I’ve embraced with pride for nearly 60 years since I first enrolled as a cadet in the Ceylon Civil Service. My long career in the civil service was often stymied under both UNP and SLFP regimes for my refusal to compromise my values,” he said in the letter. Also, he said he was proud to receive it and that his family celebrated his achievement. Asked whether he was subjected to any undue influence to change his decision he said some voiced their opinion on it but there was no influence as such. (Yohan Perera and Sheain Fernandopulle)
Pix by Nimalsiri Edirisinghe