Independent probe on Sinharaja controversy

The Government will launch an independent probe into the allegations of deforestation in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.

Allegations of deforestation were raised by a participant of a local television show recently.

Cabinet Co-Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters today (24) that the Government will conduct an independent probe into the matter within the next two weeks.

He pointed out that the allegations accusing the Government of being party to such an incident were staged and carried out to create a big issue.

The Government investigation will reveal the truth behind the allegations, the Minister assured.

Minister Rambukwella further said the deforestation allegations were similar to that of the allegations raised on the ecocide mural in Colombo that was recently taken down.

He said the organisation that had created the mural had obtained permission from the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) to erect it, and it had later been taken down by officials from the (CMC).

However, fingers were pointed at President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and allegations were raised against him in connection to the incident.

Opposition MPs were also seen issuing statements in this regard aggravating the situation, the Minister claimed.

The Cabinet Co-Spokesman said it is clearly evident that this issue had been staged.

He said, however, the Government will reveal the truth behind the allegations of deforestation in Sinharaja through its probe. (Colombo Gazette)