Planters’ Association condemns Thondaman’s illegal actions at Pedro Estate, calls for justice


Colombo, June 10 (Daily Mirror) - While condemning Minister Jeevan Thondaman's recent illegal behaviour at Pedro Estate, Nuwara Eliya, the Planters' Association of Ceylon (PA) urged the Sri Lankan Government and the Sri Lankan Police to conduct a comprehensive investigation into this incident and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

The Minister's actions, which included intimidation tactics and disregard for the law, have caused widespread concern within the plantation community, the association said in a statement.

The PA called for immediate measures to safeguard the industry stakeholders and restore confidence in the plantation sector.

On May 30, 2024, Thondaman and his associates engaged in unlawful activities to force the reinstatement of three KVPL workers suspended for assaulting a colleague and threatening arson unless work on coffee planting was halted. The Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) called for a strike, but the company's management insisted on following protocol after a disciplinary inquiry.

Efforts to resolve the issue through a meeting called for by the Assistant Commissioner of Labour failed, with unions refusing to await a domestic inquiry decision. Thondaman incited illegal actions, including using an intoxicated mob to intimidate the KVPL management, resulting in police intervention for their safety.

Minister Thondaman and his associates forcibly trespassed into Pedro Estate, detaining the CEO and his team for four hours, threatening harm and arson unless the suspended workers were reinstated immediately. Video evidence shows the Minister trespassing on KVPL property, disrupting work and threatening to burn estates if legal action was taken against him.

The PA commended KVPL CEO Anura Weerakoon for maintaining his composure despite extreme provocation. Faced with potential violence and the arrival of the Police Special Task Force (STF), the KVPL management reluctantly agreed to Thondaman's demands to avoid further danger, the statement further said.

A senior KVPL management representative was hospitalized due to stress from the threats and intimidation. The PA accused Thondaman of misleading the public by falsely claiming that he had intervened over wage issues and complaints from female workers. 

The PA emphasized that the directions to remove certain items were necessary for compliance with ISO regulations regarding foreign matter contamination.

The association said that they will continue advocating for accountability until justice is served.



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