Disabled war veterans call off 20-day protest | Daily News

Sajith visits and assures redress; Mahinda also visits

Disabled war veterans call off 20-day protest

UNP Presidential candidate Minister Sajith Premadasa visited a group of disabled soldiers conducting a protest campaign opposite the Fort Railway Station and gave a patient hearing to their grievances yesterday. (Picture by Saman Sri Wedage)
UNP Presidential candidate Minister Sajith Premadasa visited a group of disabled soldiers conducting a protest campaign opposite the Fort Railway Station and gave a patient hearing to their grievances yesterday. (Picture by Saman Sri Wedage)

The disabled war veterans protesting outside the Fort Railway Station, called off their protest yesterday after newly appointed United National Front presidential candidate and UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa personally visited them and assured that he would ensure prompt redress for their pension grievances. The protest was staged for nearly 20 days over issues related to their pension.

Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister Premadasa visited the protesting veterans at their protest site in front of the Colombo Fort Railway Station yesterday morning and engaged in a discussion with them after ascertaining their state of health. The Minister also engaged in a discussion with the wives of the disabled soldiers and assured them of his full commitment to addressing the issues. He pointed out that he could not make promises during the election period.

Opposition Leader and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa also visited the protesting soldiers yesterday.

During his meeting with them, Minister Premadasa assured the protesting veterans that he would raise the issue at the Cabinet meeting today and provide a permanent solution.

Previously, the Cabinet had granted disabled members of the Tri-Forces, Police and Special Task Force a lifetime salary equal to their last salary while in service. However, the disabled war veterans had demanded that the salary be granted to the spouse or children below 26 years following the death of the veteran.

In his discussions, Premadasa had pointed out that during previous periods, soldiers were given houses for a payment by them but, as the Housing Minister, he had started a programme to provide them with free housing.

The National Organizer of the National Movement to Protect Rights of the Disabled Soldiers H.M.S. Mahindasiri told news media that the disabled soldiers had decided to call off their protest campaign subsequent to the discussions held with Minister Premadasa and Opposition Leader Rajapaksa.

Mahindasiri said he believed that a government formed after the forthcoming elections would help resolve the disabled soldiers’ issue.


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