Representatives of India’s largest and oldest media trade union, the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) said Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans today are inheritors of true freedom.
A 29-member delegation of IFWJ, currently visiting Sri Lanka on the invitation of the Sri Lanka Press Association (SLPA), expressed their views after travelling to different parts of the country. The IFWJ delegates arrived in Colombo from Delhi, Chennai and Madurai.
Speaking at a dinner hosted by the Ministry of Mass Media and Information, the IFWJ Secretary General, Parmanand Pandey said the delegation was pleasantly surprised to see the beauty and cleanliness of the city of Colombo and other towns they visited. “I have been to Sri Lanka 17 times. I visited ITN, SLRC, SLBC and other places, but I had to go through several road blocks to reach any place then. But today we are free to travel to any place without any hindrance,” Mr Pandey said.
Dr Charitha Herath said that Sri Lanka became such a peaceful place after President Mahinda Rajapaksa defeated terrorism after becoming the Head of the State in 2005. He said that there has been a tremendous infrastructure development all over the country since the end of the conflict.
IFWJ Secretary General, Parmanand Pandey is leading the delegation because of the preoccupation of the President K. Vikram Rao. It includes IFWJ Vice-President, Satya Pareek, and two Secretaries, Hemant Tiwari and Ms Namita Bora. President of the Assam and Telangana State Units, Keshab Kalita and Janga Reddy respectively are also the part delegation; bedsides Kowdle Channappa, editor Deshahitha and Ashok Madhup, Bureau Chief of Amar Ujala in Meerut.
Mr Pandey said that IFWJ has long-standing ties with SLPA, which is a premier organisation of journalists in Sri Lanka. The founder of the SLPA nonagenarian D.F. Kariyakarawana, who is, happily, still active is mainly responsible for forging strong bilateral relationship between the two organizations.