Contaminated milk packets: fact or fiction? | Sunday Observer

Contaminated milk packets: fact or fiction?

Soon after a mega Rally organised by an Opposition against a government the aftermath is more likely to be talk about the success of the rally and then introducing the next plan for gaining power. However, unlike in history, soon after the Rally headed by Namal Rajapaksa, Joint Opposition members, started to talk about a milk packet. And, it was not about just a milk packet but a contaminated milk packet.

The Joint Opposition attracted thousands of people from rural areas on September 5 to the rally organised as Janabalaya Kolambata. It was later revealed that they didn’t have a proper plan prior to coming to Colombo. The protestors who gathered around the Lake House roundabout went back to their homes around midnight. But majority of the people had left by 8 p m as there was nothing happening.Many lay on the roads. No political leader from JO made a remarkable, long oration to inspire and galvanize them to cheering, hand clapping action. It was pretty obvious to onlookers that many had imbibed freely if not wisely. The disappointed people left and the much vaunted Janabalya Kolombata Rally fizzeled out like a damp squib.

A day after the Rally rumours about contaminated milk packets started to float around the political arena, social media and people. Naturally, the finger was pointed at the Government. The Joint Opposition claimed that the Government tried to poison its supporters by distributing contaminated milk packets.

In the meantime expressing views at a press conference, JO MP Udaya Gammanpila accused the Government and the National Lotteries Board of distributing contaminated milk packets. According to him,a van belonging to the NLB had been used to distribute these milk packets.

The photographs released to the media by the JO about the NLB vehicle chart book, do not have any reference to Maligawatta or Gangaramaya, the alleged distribution points of milk packets.

In the Parliament, JO MP Wimal Weerawansa accused fellow parliamentarian Mujibur Rahuman saying that his supporters distributed the contaminated milk packets. MP Rahuman has declared his intention of suing his accusers for defamation.

Speaking to the media at a press conference at Sirikotha, Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahuman denied JO’s claims.

“Initially JO MPs said these milk packets were distributed at Maligawatte. But those who made complaints have said that they received them at Slave Island. These are two contradictory stories. Also people who drank these milk packets around 3pm had empty packets in their hands by the time they were admitted to the hospitals which was around 8p m. That’s very unnatural,” MP quizzed.

JO MP Dullas Alahapperuma who was named as one of the victims of the scene, also expressed his views at a press conference.

“I also belong to the thousands of people who drank those milk packets. My driver had taken a few of the milk packets which were distributed and I also happened to drink a packet. I was severely sick for three days. The Government should be ashamed of this. According to all the information revealed this is an act of the Government. We can’t confine this to one MP and a Director at NLB. The Government should take responsibility and resign”.

Meanwhile speaking to the Sunday Observer, Shyamila Perera, Chairperson of National Lotteries Board said that they are holding an internal inquiry to find out how vehicle running charts of the NLB were leaked.

“We are conducting an inquiry in to this especially to check how the information in the vehicle log book was released to outsiders. Some internal people would have done that or some others have allowed outsiders to come in to the premises and take photographs of our running sheets. There are enough people who were recruited by the previous regime. So, there are groups of anti- government people inside the NLB.

We don’t know from where they got information about our vehicle. But running charts do not show anything about milk packet distributing”.

According to her, it’s quite unbelievable that someone would have followed proper procedures if they wanted to use a vehicle for some political activity. “We have found gate passes and proper running charts.

If they would hadgone for some political activity, they wouldn not have filed all those. I do not think that they are that foolish to do that. So, the vehicle was obviously on some official work. At the moment, we’re getting explanations from the drivers. After the fact finding,disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty”.

Even though earlier it was reported that JO members have made complaints to the Fort police, Chief Inspector of Fort police Sagara Liyanage said that no complaint is lodged with regard to distribution of contaminated milk packets. Nevertheless, Minister Harin Fernando, Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara and MP Majibur Rahuman have lodgeda complaint with the Mirihana Police asking for further investigation into the incident.

Following some other complaints made by the participants of the protest the police has sent samples of milk packets to the Government Analyst for testing.