At the centre of the controversy, are labour officers, who, it is alleged, had asked a housemaid who sought refuge at the embassy to undergo abortion. A source who did not wish to be identified said the officers in question were in league with employers in Oman and helping them to overcome legal action through abortions.
Ambassador Ashoka Girihagama has been recalled to Colombo with immediate effect. His term was officially due to end on August 31, but the immediate recall is said to be the result of the inquiry he initiated. The husband of the housemaid who was asked to undergo abortion has also lodged a complaint with the Foreign Employment Bureau.
The first communication to recall the Ambassador had been issued earlier this month, but no specific date had been mentioned. However a second communication had been sent on Friday directing the ambassador to return by the end of this month.
A Foreign Ministry official said he was not aware of the decision. The housemaid in question had been brought to the embassy safe house after she was allegedly raped by the Omani sponsor. She was found to be pregnant. Thereafter, a labour officer had reportedly contacted the Omani sponsor and allegedly organised an abortion without informing the ambassador.
The ambassador had started investigating the matter following a complaint he had received. The persons in charge of the safe house had initially denied the claim, but later the ambassador had spoken to the housemaid. The woman’s husband has appealed to the President to get down his wife. He said that two persons who called over at his residence two weeks ago had wanted him to come to Colombo to meet a cabinet minister to resolve the matter. At least four Sri Lankan maids who had sought refuge at the safe house had attempted to commit suicide