Hirunika may not agree – but I did right accepting post and house-– Mrs. Premachandra
Last week we quoted Hirunika Premachandra, daughter of slain Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra in an interview as saying she ‘will not cave in even if the mother does,” in relation to her mother agreeing to a presidential appointment and the facility of a house, despite the unsolved case regarding the father. This week, we interviewed the mother for her views. The widow of slain SLFP politician Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra said that she had accepted the offer of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to continue to provide herself and daughter with lodging at the Summit Flats at Jawatte, Colombo 7, after her pleas for help from her late husband’s brothers and sisters based in Canada, were not heeded by them.
In a brief interview with LAKBIMAnEWS, Mrs. Sumana Premachandra said that she had continuously pleaded with the late Lakshman Bharatha Premachandra’s brother and sisters who are all domiciled in Canada to provide a house for herself and daughter Hirunika, but all those pleas and requests had fallen on deaf ears she lamented.
Requested the President
After all attempts to get help from the family failed Mrs.Premachandra had finally approached the President who had allowed the former SLFP Presidential Advisor’s spouse and daughter to continue to reside at the Summit Flats at Jawatta, Colombo 7.
“We were quite helpless as we had moved out of my husband’s Kolonnawa house,” she said at the outset.
“There we were on rent when Bharatha was alive. A few days before he died he had told me that he wanted to take me and his son and daughter to a house of his own”.
“But fate intervened cruelly to snatch him away at the prime of his life.”
Mrs. Premachandra pointed out that she had made the request on a number of occasions in the past, from her late assassinated husband’s siblings to provide for her and her daughter but lamented that those pleas had fallen on deaf ears.
She averred that it was as a last resort that she had made a humble request to President Rajapaksa who had promptly made arrangements for them to continue to live at the Summit Flats, Colombo 7.
Asked whether her decision to accept a post of co-ordinating secretary to the President is a dishonour to her husband’s image and does not sit well with the call for justice upon her husband’s death by murder, she asserted that she had done what she did after having considered the future of her family.
“I had to take the future of my daughter and our safety into consideration,” she continued.
“Therefore it is wrong to construe this as us trying to ruin the image of Bharatha Lakshman my late husband — or a renege on our mission to seek justice for his terrible murder”.
People can say whatever they want, but what they are saying is not always the truth.
It is only I who know the predicament faced by me and my daughter here, and it was President Rajapaksa who intervened to provide us with a safe home. It was a Godsend, at a time when my late husband’s siblings ignored my pleas for a house.
Therefore we are forever grateful to the President for his gesture, at this time; if not for his timely intervention today we would still be looking for a place to reside.”
Mrs. Sumana Premachandra also dismissed suggestions that her accepting a coordinating secretary post would be a deterrent in her efforts to seek justice for her husband’s brutal slaying in 2011.
“There are people who sling mud at us just because I have accepted a certain post from the President,” she explained.
Justice for Bharatha
“That is no impediment for either me or my daughter to carry forward our case seeking justice for Bharatha who sacrificed his entire life for the work of the SLFP and for the election of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.’’
She also said that her daughter was still facing threats to her life and that they continue to receive nuisance calls.
Bharatha Lakshman’s widow affirmed that despite requests made to IGP N K Illangakoon to provide 24 hour police protection, they have so far been able only to assign one police constable to provide security at their Summit Flats annex.
She maintained that her daughter was not provided with any security whatsoever during her daily commutes, including visits to Law College — and she was faced with a high risk after all the death threats that she has received.
Asked whether her decision to remain at the Summit Flats and give up the rented house at Kolonnawa had been approved by her daughter Hirunika who has been a vocal critic of the UPFA government in the wake of her father’s tragic death, she said that she had taken such a decision considering the immediate future of her family and most importantly the security aspect.
“I could not leave my daughter at risk,” Mrs. Premachandra added.
“And Hirunika sometimes may not agree with certain decisions taken by me but as a mother I have to consider many things”.
I had to look at the bigger picture and that is what I did but we will continue to seek justice for Bharatha’s murder no matter how long it takes for the case as that is the wish of this entire nation.”