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Harin to wear black shawl till Ranjan gets ‘justice’



By Saman Indrajith

SJB MP Harin Fernando told Parliament yesterday that he would wear a black shawl in the Chamber until Ranjan Ramanayake received justice..

“Unlike those who wear the kurahan sataka in the chamber to show their family power in Parliament, I will wear a black shawl in the Chamber seeking justice,” Fernando said.

“I was shocked when he heard that he would be dragged like a dog similar to a terrorist leader for criticizing the high and mighty powers of this country. “In that warning there was a mention of two characters. When talking of two characters, I go back to 1889. That year gave birth to two unforgettable characters –one is Charlie Chaplin the other is Adolf Hitler. Both are alike, both had toothbrush moustaches and both became very popular. One made the entire world cry and another made the entire world happy by making people laugh. Now we have both characters here. I wear this shawl against injustice prevailing in this country.”

Leader of the House Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena: “The MP is acting against Standing Orders. He cannot criticise the President or judges in that manner. I read from the Section 83 of the Standing Orders, which says that the personal conduct of the President, or the Acting President, Members of Parliament, Judges or other persons engaged in the administration of justice shall not be raised except upon a substantive motion; and in any proceedings, question to a Minister, or remarks in a debate on a motion dealing with any other subject reference to the conduct of any such person shall be out of order. In this Standing Order “Judge” means the Chief Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal and every other Judge of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal appointed by the President of the Republic by Warrant under his hand. The Speaker should not permit this MP to continue”.

MP Fernando: I did not speak about judges, I spoke about Ranjan Ramanayake. I did not talk about Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaka, but about Hitler and Charlie Chaplin. I also regret that the Leader of the House whom I respect cannot understand the difference. I wanted to talk about the large number of gazettes put out by the government but failed to control the prices.

There is another matter that I want to highlight. This country was ruled by the Portuguese from 1505 to 1658, the Dutch from 1658 to 1796 and the English from 1796 to 1948. Since 2109 it has been ruled by auctioneers.

“When I had fears about my life I sent a letter to the IGP, but he could not respond for weeks. The IGP of this country is not the IGP of the government. He is the IGP of this country. This is the darkness that has engulfed this nation today. It is to symbolize that darkness I wear this shawl. I continue to wear this till Ranjan Ramanayake receives justice.”

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SLFP: PCoI has exceeded its mandate and failed to address critical issues



By Rathindra Kuruwita

President Maithripala Sirisena appointed the PCoI on Easter Sunday Attacks to identify local and international forces behind the attacks, establish the motives of those groups and to punish those who were directly and indirectly responsible for the attacks, but those issues had not been addressed by the PCoI’s final report, the SLFP said yesterday.

 SLFP General Secretary, Dayasiri Jayasekera said that the party’s Executive Committee had discussed the report in depth on Thursday and decided that the Commission had not addressed the issues it had been appointed to probe.

On the other hand, some of its recommendations have gone beyond its mandate.

Issuing a press release, the SLFP said that while the PCoI observed that former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had been soft on Islamic extremism and his government had not taken active steps in combating extremism, however, the PCoI had treated Wickremesinghe with kid gloves while taking a tough stance on former President Maithripala Sirisena.

 “The former President took over the Ministry of Law and Order on 30 October 2018, i.e. only five months and twenty days before the attacks. None of those who held the post before have been accused of anything. The report also focuses little on those who planned the attacks, those who financed the attacks and those who protected the attackers. Moreover, although there is evidence to prove that the weapons found in Muslim mosques after the attacks had been brought in by ships; the report had not investigated it in-depth,” the SLFP said.

 The party also said Pulastini Rajendran alias Sara Jasmine, the wife of Mohommadu Hastun, a suicide bomber, had fled to India sometime after the attacks. However, the Commission had not only paid any attention to it but also had ignored what could have been found.

 “The mandate set by President Sirisena says to look at current or former state officials who are directly or indirectly linked to these incidents. There is no mandate for the Commission to look into whether the head of the state or ministers have fulfilled their constitutional duties. Thus, the recommendations on the former President are beyond the PCoI’s mandate. The pages 292 and 293 of the report state that President Sirisena had instructed the Police to arrest NTJ leader Zahran Hashim at the National Security Council. However, they also insist that the former President had not carried out its duties and responsibilities. Page 296 says that the former President not appointing an acting Defence Minister when he left for India and Singapore was a violation of the Constitution. However, in another place the Commissioners say that making such appointments is at the President’s discretion,” the SLFP said in a press release.

 The SLFP also states that the former President had carried out his duties and the report has ample evidence of it. Thus, there is no way that criminal proceedings can be instituted against him.

 “The concept that criminal proceedings can be instituted against a President for not carrying out some duty sets a bad precedent and is a slight to the power given to the President by the Constitution. The US and New Zealand security agencies had received information about 9/11 and the Christchurch shootings but the heads of the states were not charged. We vehemently refuse the allegations against the former President and reject many of the other recommendations too.”

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Dubai haven for majority of Lankan fugitives with INTERPOL red notices



By Pradeep Prasanna Samarakoon

Police had obtained INTERPOL Red Notices against 24 drug traffickers hiding overseas, police spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana said.

In addition, DIG Rohana said INTERPOL blue notices had been issued for 87 wanted criminals who were currently residing overseas.

The DIG said a majority of the suspects were reported to be hiding in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, while some were in neighbouring India and European countries.

The country’s law enforcement agencies had seized over 1,610 kilos of heroin in 2020 alone, the DIG noted, adding that last year 33,125 suspects had been arrested for possessing heroin and 1,400 others for having in their possession synthetic drugs.

About 61,550 persons had been arrested for narcotic-related offences, in 2020, said the Police Spokesperson, noting that intelligence reports had suggested there was a shortage of heroin in the local drug market due to continuous raids carried out by law enforcement authorities. That had led to a rise in the use of synthetic drugs, such as ICE, he added.

INTERPOL assistance had been sought to extradite 129 Lankans wanted for various crimes, he said.

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Organise State Vesak festival at Nagadeepa with those of other religions- PM 



Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who is also the Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs has instructed authorities to hold this year’s State Vesak Festival at the Nagadeepa Raja Maha Viharaya in Jaffna focusing on the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

The Prime Minister at a meeting held at Temple Trees on Thursday evening had given instructions to the Secretary to the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Cultural and Religious Affairs Prof Kapila Gunawardena to organize the State Vesak Festival together with those following other religions.

Accordingly, the Departments of Hindu, Christian and Muslim Affairs under the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, will join in the efforts to organize the event.

Among those present were Sanghanayake of the Northern Province Chief Incumbent of the Nagadeepa Vihara Ven Dr. Dharmakeerthi Sri Navadagala Padaumakitthi Nayaka Thera, Sanghanayake of the Eastern and Thamankaduwa Ven Munhene Mettharama thera, Sanghanayake of the Matara-Hambantota districts Adrahere Kassapa Nayaka thera, State Minister Vidura Wickramanayake, MP Suren Raghawan and officials of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs.



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