UNP now accuses IGP of becoming a turncoat

‘Not really surprised by Jayasundera’s turnabout’


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The UNP yesterday alleged that IGP Pujith Jayasundera had given in to the Rajapaksas following Oct. 26 constitutional coup staged by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Former Deputy Law and Order Minister Nalin Bandara said that they weren’t really surprised at all by Jayasundera sudden turnabout.

Jayasundera received his appointment in April 2016 from President Sirisena on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council.

When The Island pointed out that the UNP went out of its way to shield Jayasundera who had been under heavy fire over his conduct in the run up to change of premiership, Puttalam District MP Bandara said that the UNP allowed the Police Chief a free hand.

The UNPer claimed that Sirisena-Rajapaksa combine had dragged the country back to 2014 and the Police Chief’s conduct post-Oct 26 indicated the current pathetic status of affairs.Jayasundera on Wednesday told a media briefing at police headquarters that he would take orders only from President Sirisena. Jayasundera dismissed UNP’s call to ensure continuation of security provided to its members.

Asked whether the UNP would seek the intervention of the National Police Commission (NPC) to rein in Jayasundera, MP Bandara said the party would lodge a complaint with the independent commission during the course of the day.

Responding to another query, Bandara said that Jayasundera was now acting outside police circulars and working overtime to undermine political opponents of the Sirisena-Rajapaksa combine.

The UNPer said that he hadn’t received a briefing as regards an inquiry initiated by the Law and Order Ministry into Jayasundera’s conduct.

Veteran UNPer Ranjith Madduma Bandara, too, insisted that contrary to public pronouncements made by the Sirisena-Rajapaksa combine he remained the minister in charge of law and order portfolio.

Moneragala District MP told The Island that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had clearly asserted that until the UPFA could prove its majority in parliament he wouldn’t recognize President Sirisena’s choice Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister.

Asked whether he was aware of the outcome of the inquiry that dealt with Jayasundera, MP Bandara said that as he had been busy with current political developments he couldn’t inquire into the matter.

Responding to another query, the UNPer said that he still considered himself as the Law and Order Minister regardless of political developments taking place.

Following the 2015 change of government, Tilak Marapana, PC, received law and order portfolio. However, Sagala Ratnayake took over the vital ministry following Marapana’s resignation in Nov 2015 in the wake of severe criticism of the former Attorney General’s relationship with Avant Garde Maritime Services (AGMS). Ratnayake stepped down soon after the heavy drubbing the UNP received at Local Government polls in February 2018 to pave the way for UNPer Sarath Fonseka. However, the then Premier Wickremesinghe held the portfolio briefly while the UNP struggled to convince President Sirisena to allocate law and order subjects to Fonseka. Finally UNP veteran Ranjith Madduma Bandara was sworn in as law and order minister in late March 2018.

Responding to another query, MP Bandara said that in terms of the Constitution, the IGP could be removed by way of a simple majority vote in parliament.

MPs, Madduma Bandara and Bandara said that they would continue to challenge despicable efforts by Sirisena-Rajapaksa junta to subvert democracy.

When the media raised the apparent delay in the Sirisena-Rajapaksa government taking action against Jayasundera, at the first post-cabinet briefing on Oct 30, co- government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella ruled out hasty measures.

Political sources said that the government seemed still contemplating the next step though both the Joint Opposition and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna were fiercely critical of Jayasundera’s conduct.

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