2019 in Sri Lanka

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2019
in
Sri Lanka

Decades:
See also:

The following lists notable events that took place during 2019 in Sri Lanka. This year marks the fewest non-working holidays in the country as most of the public holidays fall on weekends.[1]

Incumbents[edit]

National[edit]

Provincial[edit]

Governors
Chief Ministers

Events[edit]

February[edit]

  • 6 February - Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena stressed in parliament that the death sentence would be implemented within the next two months on those who are convicted for drug offences, ending a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment.[2][3]
  • 23 February - Sri Lanka registered their first ever test series win against South Africa in South Africa and became the first ever Asian side to achieve the feat.[4]

March[edit]

April[edit]

May[edit]

June[edit]

  • 3 June - After a protest led by hardline Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and its leader Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara who demanded the resignations of Muslim ministers and governors. All of Sri Lanka's Muslim ministers and their deputies resigned from their portfolios.[19][20]
  • 6 June - The Sri Lankan Airlines was rated as the world's most punctual airline for the second successive year[21]
  • 26 June - President Maithripala Sirisena signed death warrants with the execution dates for four convicts with drug-related offenses, the first time that executions were ordered in 43 years.[22]
  • 29 June - Sri Lanka still continues to be the Lonely Planet's top destination for 2019 despite the April/21 attacks.[23][24]

July[edit]

August[edit]

  • 17 August - Shavendra Silva was officially appointed as new Army Commander replacing Mahesh Senanayake.[26]
  • 18 August - Shavendra Silva officially commenced his new term as Sri Lanka Army Commander.
  • 28 August - Sri Lankan spinner who is known for inventing carrom ball Ajantha Mendis retired from all forms of cricket.[27]

September[edit]

October[edit]

  • 5 October - First ever public debate among Presidential candidates took place for the upcoming election.[39]
  • 7 October - Presidential nominations for the upcoming election were held at Rajagiriya.[40]
  • 17 October - Jaffna International Airport was officially opened as the country's third international airport.[41]

November[edit]

Sri Lankan officials launched investigations regarding the alleged kidnapping and mentioned that the attack was possibly in relation to a former top police officer Nishantha de Silva who pledged asylum from Switzerland.[50] The issue has become a significant diplomatic standoff between the two countries with Sri Lanka accusing Switzerland of throwing mud.[51] Sri Lanka Foreign minister further stated that the sequence of events and timeline of the alleged incident, as formally presented by the Swiss Mission on behalf of the alleged victim to the CID, did not in any way correspond with the actual movements of the alleged victim on that date, as borne out by witness interviews and technical evidence, including Uber records, CCTV footage, telephone records and the GPS data.[52] Switzerland government further stated that it will take the issue seriously and called the attack on the employee as unacceptable which would affect the diplomatic ties between the nations.[53][54] The case is considered to be a mysterious circumstance.[55]

Development[edit]

The issue became a prime focus after Nishantha de Silva, a top police officer who was known for inquiring high profile cases since 2015 had reportedly fled to Switzerland with his family in order to seek asylum following the conclusion of the 2019 Sri Lankan presidential election where Gotabaya Rajapaksa emerged victorious.[48][56] Silva is believed to have received death threats and left the country without proper permission.[57]

On 25 November 2019, the local embassy employee was dragged into a car by a gang of unknown men to obtain information related to the Swiss embassy and information about Silva.[58] The kidnapped woman was forced to disclose the mobile phone data of Sri Lankan citizens who applied for asylum in Switzerland. On the same day she returned to the embassy with minor injuries from her abduction.[59] Newly appointed Major General Kamal Gunaratne met with the ambassador for Switzerland in Sri Lanka and explained the results of the investigation.[60] The Government of Sri Lanka rejected the request from Swiss authorities to send one of its staff members to Switzerland for medical treatment.[61]

In December 2019, the Sri Lankan magistrate court ordered the embassy staff worker to remain in Sri Lanka for inquiries and blocked the staff member from leaving the country until 9 December 2019 without making a police statement.[62][63][64][65] However, the Swiss government stated that the health of the woman deteriorated and further stated that the inquiry would be unfair.[66] On 9 December 2019, the magistrate court further extended the travel ban on the staff member until 12 December 2019 and it was reported that the staff issued a statement before the Criminal Investigation Department regarding the alleged abduction of her.[67][68][69]

On 16 December 2019, Sri Lankan officials arrested the staff member for claiming false abduction allegations according to the reports.[70][71][72] The officials officially revealed the name of the perpetrator as Gania Banister Francis and she was subjected to medical tests and psychiatric analysis based upon her claims.[73] CID revealed there is no such evidence to prove Francis' claim that she was kidnapped and molested.[74]

On 19 December, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs announced that it had sent an experienced diplomat to Sri Lanka to try to resolve the incident.[75][76] On the same day, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the foreign press had been reporting on the alleged abduction before the facts were established, calling himself the victim of a "planned thing to discredit me and the government."[77]

On 30 December, the embassy employee was released on bail but banned from traveling abroad.[78]

Investigations on mobile phones found that she was in contact with the former CID Director Shani Abeysekara, former Lake House Chairman Krishantha Cooray and Darisha Bastian, the former Editor in Chief of the Sunday Observer days before she claimed to have been abducted. Krishantha Cooray traveled to Malaysia in December as investigation happened while Dharisha Bastian travelled to Switzerland before the "abduction".[79]

December[edit]

Deaths[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

  • 3 February - Berty Gunasekara, 79 (cinematographer) [85]
  • 14 February - Gunaratne Hapuarachchi, 69 (film production manager) [86]
  • 14 February - V. Vamadevan, 83 (cinematographer) [87]

March[edit]

April[edit]

May[edit]

June[edit]

July[edit]

  • 13 July - Upali Leelaratne, 61 (writer) [100]
  • 19 July - Sanda Ahubudu, 84 (writer) [101]
  • 21 July - Kusum Pieris, 71 (radio announcer) [102]
  • 28 July - Reuben Weliwatta, 87 (film editor) [103]

August[edit]

September[edit]

October[edit]

November[edit]

  • 1 November - Dr. Tissa Ranasinghe, 94 (sculptor) [112]
  • 4 November - Samaraweera Wijayasinghe, 78 (author) [113]
  • 12 November - Sirima Anasta Marceline, 76 (songstress) [114]
  • 19 November - D. M. Jayaratne, 88, (former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (2010-2015)[115]

December[edit]

Holidays[edit]

In Sri Lanka Bank Holidays, Public Holidays & Full Moon Poya Days for Year – 2019[118]

  • 15 January – Tuesday Tamil Thai Pongal Day *†‡
  • 20 January – Sunday Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day *†
  • 4 February – Monday National Day *†‡
  • 19 February - Tuesday Navam Full Moon Poya Day *†
  • 4 March - Monday Maha Sivarathri Day *†
  • 20 March - Wednesday Medin Full Moon Poya Day *†
  • 13 April - Saturday Day Prior to Sinhala and Tamil New Year Day *†‡
  • 14 April - Sunday Sinhala and Tamil New Year Day *†‡
  • 15 April - Monday Special Bank Holiday
  • 19 April - Friday Bak Full Moon Poya Day *†
  • 19 April - Friday Good Friday *†
  • 1 May - Wednesday May Day *†‡
  • 18 May - Saturday Vesak Full Moon Poya Day *†
  • 19 May - Sunday Day Following Vesak Full Moon Poya Day *†‡
  • 20 May - Monday Special Bank Holiday
  • 5 June - Wednesday – Id-Ul-Fitr (Ramazan Festival Day) *†
  • 16 June - Sunday – Poson Full Moon Poya Day *†
  • 16 July - Tuesday – Esala Full Moon Poya Day *†
  • 12 August - Monday – Id-Ul-Alha (Hadji Festival Day) *†
  • 14 August - Wednesday – Nikini Full Moon Poya Day *†
  • 13 September Friday – Binara Full Moon Poya Day *†
  • 13 October Sunday – Vap Full Moon Poya Day *†
  • 27 October Sunday – Deepavali Festival Day *†
  • 10 November Sunday – Milad-Un-Nabi (Holy Prophet's Birthday) *†‡
  • 11 November Monday – Special Bank Holiday
  • 12 November Tuesday – Ill Full Moon Poya Day *†
  • 11 December Wednesday – Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day *†
  • 25 December Wednesday – Christmas Day *†‡
  • Public Holidays *
  • Bank Holidays †
  • Mercantile Holidays ‡

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