Tamils launch boycott against 'Sri Lanka Bank of the Year'

By Athula Vithanage

Angered by Sri lanka’s largest private sector bank punishing two of its staff who held a memorial for loved ones killed in a massacre nine years ago, Tamils in northern Sri Lanka has launched a boycott.

JDS has seen letters written by Tamil customers in Kilinochchi and Jaffna demanding the termination of their dealings with Hatton National Bank (HNB Plc), which suspended two of its Kilinochchi staff members for conducting a modest prayer meeting on the day that Tamils worldwide pay respect to their loved ones killed in the war.

“I don’t want to have any financial dealings with a company that does not know how to respect human feelings,” said one letter.

'Threat to Sri Lankans' morale'

Kilinochchi HNB Assistant Manager Sasivarnan Paripooranananthasarma and several other staff members had taken part in the commemoration held at the Kilinochchi bank premises on 18 May.

Strongly condemning them HNB said that their action “does not reflect the values of the Bank”.

The commemoration “poses a threat to the morale of citizens of Sri Lanka”, says HNB, which was named as Bank of the Year 2017 by the British financial journal The Banker.

Condemning the suspension of the bank staff Kilinochchi Civil Society (KCS) says that Tamils who have lost trust are compelled to terminate their deals with HNB.

“Loved ones of those bank employees might have perished in those tragical days around May 18, in Mullivaikkal,” KCS Secretary Iyngararasa Jeevanayagam told journalists in Jaffna.

“Tamils were pouring out their grief on that day in their respective workplaces in the north and the east, whether it be public sector or private sector. HNB should immediately reinstate these staff members.” 

Tamil activist and head of the Department of Law in the University of Jaffna, Dr Kumaravadivel Guruparan condemned the suspension as “Corporate Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism”.

The HNB director board with only one Tamil is led by President’s Counsel Rienzie Arseculeratne.



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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