Forest Department officer refuses to violate the law despite pressure

A Forest Department officer has refused to violate the law and approve the construction of a playground in a mangrove area in Negombo despite pressure from a State Minister.

A video going viral on social media shows the female officer, identified as Gampaha District Forest Officer Devanee Jayathilaka, standing her ground despite pressure from a group of villagers to release land to construct a playground for children.

State Minister Sanath Nishantha is seen at the discussion urging the officer to step down from the stand she is taking on the issue.

The State Minister is seen telling the female officer that Sri Lanka is a small country and since there is a shortage of land she must reach a consensus with the villagers on allocating some land for the playground.

However, the Forest Department officer refuses to agree saying she is not prepared to violate the law.

She also notes the importance of protecting the environment to ensure there is clean air to breathe.

One individual is however heard saying oxygen is not important. (Colombo Gazette)


  1. Highly Commendable madam. Stand your ground. This supposed to be ‘State Minister’ should be sacked for political interference. They are not
    serving the country but serving themselves. President please pay attention.

  2. ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. Stand your ground and do not give into those thugs and hooligans. The disgraceful state minister should be ashamed of himself for supporting this request.

  3. This official deserves an immediate promotion in the Forest Department hierarchy.
    If we had more officials like her our country could start to progress.

  4. Typical shortsighted people with a “paddy-cultivator” mentality. Unfortunately, this woman who is steadfastly doing her job, will be victimised into submission.

    Why isn’t public or media pressure being brought to bear on this misfit of a minister? Unfortunately, the quality of Sri Lanka’s journalists has declined significantly.

  5. Respect. I just hope she doesn’t get transfered because of this. I have seen too many such incidents. I hope our voice is powerful enough in social media to make sure that doesn’t happen

  6. To tell the truth,to abide by the Law of the Land,to protect the environment for future generations one doesnot need to obey Politicians. You are a Public Officer. I salute you.

  7. This female Forest department officer is an example for leaders, especially men in positions of authority, in Sri Lanka. She handled the situation with dignity, stood her ground on the law, and her position is absolutely valid. In fact, putting up schools for children in any zone is pointless if these same children end up not having enough clean air and oxygen to breathe in the area. It would be more beneficial for those same children to be involved in projects to create more green spaces and protection of the already low percentage of green spaces in their town! Keep up your position and stand firm. There is international awareness of this critical problem and the world commends you on your brave position!

  8. So proud of her standing her ground. Thanks to the internet we can see this and support and we should also follow what happens. Politicians only think of votes. All the institutions he named were state established to protect the environment and the politicians do their best and have largely succeeded in making them redundant and never achieve the goal they were set up for. She has to be supported.

  9. Standing your​ ground​ in​ this time​ of​ global ecological crisis​ more important then​ ever.​ Well done.​ Stand​ with​ trees​ &​ stand​ with​ forests.​ We​ have​ sacrificed enough as​ a​ species.​ We​ need to​ stop​destroying​ and​ move into​ a​ regenerative story!

  10. While echoing all the praise heaped on this lady and wishing that more public servants are as courageous as her I would like to add a couple of points for discussion.

    1. Unlike before she has not been transferred or otherwise punished fir her stand. In fact the president has openly supported her. While some may say it’s because of public pressure it is a fact and that alone is a huge improvement.

    2. While the minister concerned shows a remarkable lack of awareness it must be pointed out that at no stage did he threaten her or use abusive language. He merely argued his point of view. At least that’s all I saw in the clip. While I agree once again that his point of view is rather silly, we must all respect his right to state his position and argue a case.

    That’s the beauty of democracy


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