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JVP faults Premier for not touching on Easter Sunday carnage, in address to nation

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… says no truck with main Opposition SJB

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had, in his address to the nation, spoken of the 1988-89 period and 30-year war but purposefully evaded speaking about the Easter Sunday carnage, the JVP said yesterday.

Addressing the media at the party headquarters in Pelawatte, JVP Propaganda Secretary MP Vijitha Herath said Prime Minister Rajapaksa had made use of 1988-89 and war against the LTTE to divert the attention of people from the burning issues. “Yet, he did not touch the issue of the Easter Sunday terror attacks because there are direct charges against them. He had been overly careful not to speak about it even though now we are coming close to three years after the attacks,” MP Herath said.

“Prime Minister Rajapaksa’s speech to the nation contained only three main issues – the 30-year long war, the pandemic and the 1988-89 period. People expected that he would at least speak of possible solutions because already six persons died in petrol queues.

“We as a nation are suffering due to unprecedented shortages and price hikes. Instead of speaking of possible solutions, he tried to save President brother while issuing veiled threats. He evoked the memories of boogeymen, raised various allegations to undermine the actual problem. We do not think the people and especially the youth today would fall for these tricks,” MP Herath said.

The JVP Propaganda Secretary that the country had been robbed by the members of a single family and now the prime minister invited other parties to join them to find solutions. “We will not join any of those thieves. Could a country be saved by joining hands with thieves? Anyone who joined them could do only one thing – that is to rob public funds. We in the JVP are not ready for that. Our stance is that we have no future with this bunch of thieves and we must fight to send them home. We are convinced that this country cannot achieve progress with them as leaders. We will never be able to make our economy stable again with the same bunch of swindlers. The first imperative of rebuilding this nation is to see the Rajapaksas out of politics,” MP Herath said.

Responding to queries, MP Herath said that his party would not close ranks with the SJB’s plans to build the economy. “The SJB plan allows the President to stay on top. This country cannot be rebuilt or the economic problems cannot be solved as long as Gotabaya Rajapaksa remains as the President. We are planning to bring about our own administration with the support of people.”

Asked to comment on demonstrations under the slogan “We are with Gota,” Herath said that it was an attempt by the government to make people fight each other. “The plan was a flop. Everybody has realised that it is nothing but a government trick to set their paid thugs and cronies against people. That will not work. That attempt was an insult to the intelligence of people.”

Responding to a question on the immediate future of the protests against the government, the MP said that the youth have vowed that they would not give up during the New Year holidays too. “We support their fight. It is because of this struggle we could send Basil Rajapaksa and Ajith Nivard Cabaraal home. Whatever reforms and changes are being introduced by this government today are because of the protests the youth launched. So, we have achieved victories. There are further victories waiting for us people and the only way to achieve them is through nothing but struggle.”



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BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

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SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

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By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

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A/L may be delayed by one month

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Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

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