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JVP won’t back 22 A unless…

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The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution Bill scheduled to be put to the vote in Parliament tomorrow evening would not be supported by JVP votes unless the government incorporates the party’s proposals to the draft bill.

Addressing the media at the party headquarters in Pelawatte on Monday, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said his party had proposed that the amendments contain provisions for banning MPs crossing over, limiting the number of ministers and deputy ministers and a six-month term limit for the post of Acting President.

Dissanayake said that MPs crossing over had become the bane of Lankan politics and that should be brought to an end. “We have a culture of MPs crossing over for various reasons such obtaining ministerial positions, benefits, money, land, houses and even to evade legal proceedings. By crossing over after the people have voted they distort the will of the people,” the JVP leader said.

Dissanayake said the party proposed a similar provision to be added to the 19th Amendment. “We wanted the 19A to provide for expelling crossovers from Parliament. But our proposal was not taken on board. But the people of this country know that MPs cross over for personal benefits and to have cases against them withdrawn,” he said.

The JVP leader said that considering the large number of ministerial positions created to lure MPs into crossing over to the government, an amendment must also be included to limit ministerial and deputy ministerial posts while state minister positions should be done away with.

“Even after Gotabaya Rajapaksa was forced to flee, the same old persons were once again appointed as ministers. Some more ministers are to be appointed. This Constitution allows the President to spend public funds according to his whims and fancies,” the JVP leader said, adding that the number of ministers and deputy ministers should be 25 each.

The JVP leader said the existing constitutional provision for allowing Parliament to appoint a President should be amended. “This allows a person who cannot become an Executive President to be appointed as one for four and a half years. This is undemocratic. It does not reflect the sovereignty of the people. Therefore, we propose a president can be appointed temporarily for six months after the post is vacated and an election to be held thereafter to elect a new president,” he said. (SI)



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Easter Sunday terror attack suspect hacked to death

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By Norman Palihawadane

A 38-year-old Easter Sunday terror attack suspect was hacked to death yesterday morning (28) in Mattakkuliya.

The victim, Mohamed Badurdeen Mohamed Harnas, was a resident of Safiya Avenue, Mattakkuliya, police said.

A suspect in the Easter Sunday terror attacks, he had been released on bail.

The suspect was rushed to the National Hospital, Colombo, after three individuals, who arrived in a car around 10. 00 am, attacked him.

Two persons attacked the man while the other was keeping the car engine running, according to eyewitnesses. The attackers thereafter fled in the same car.

Harnas was pronounced dead on admission to hospital.

Further investigations in this regard are currently underway.

The victims family members said that Harnas had been taken into custody, following the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, but later released as there was no evidence of his involvement in terrorist activities.

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Rail service between Mahawa and Jaffna to be suspended for five months

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Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that the railway services between Mahawa and Jaffna will be suspended for a period of five months in 2023.

The Minister said that operations will be suspended from January 15, 2023.

The Minister said it was to repair work on the railway line.

He said so in response to a question raised by Vanni District MP Selvam Adaikalanathan.

“We are focusing our attention on the request made by you. We have to halt railway operations between Mahawa and Jaffna for five months from January 2023. Train services have been continuously operating to Jaffna, but now we have faced a situation as we have not been able to carry out any repair work thus far,” the Minister said.

Assuring that this issue can be rectified in five months, Minister Gunawardane said that, thereafter, a good railway service can be provided for this route.

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Imthiaz: Youth have every right to be angry and rulers cannot escape responsibility

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Imthiaz Bakeer Markar

SJB MP Imthiaz Bakeer Markar says a ruler cannot hold on to power by imprisoning the country’s youth.

Participating in the debate on the 2023 Budget, Bakeer Markar said, “The current crisis has severely affected the country’s youth as proved by the ongoing brain drain. We must all understand this situation. The youth who are suffering due to these issues are now in anger. Their dreams have been destroyed due to the crisis. They have no hopes for the future and neither have they been offered any help or support to build their lives. Given the situation they have every right to be angry.”

“Labelling them as terrorists or issuing threats claiming that military or police will be deployed against them is not what must be done.

“It is a fallacy to think traditional politics or intimidation is a solution to these issues. One is mistaken if one believes they can hang on to power through the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act or a Rehabilitation Bill or even by locking up youth in torture chambers or in dark rooms. Traditional politics is dead. One cannot deal with today’s youth with an island mentality,” he said.

The MP said that youth with new thinking is coming into power the world over and have become forces of change in their countries.

“The world is calling for Martin Luthers and not Hitlers,” he said, adding that Sri Lanka must use the citizens’ struggle in a positive manner for its future journey.  “Our country’s youth became exemplary when they engaged in a peaceful struggle on the country’s streets for freedom, equality and life. Using their struggle as an example we should set our goals as a country higher and obtain the support of the youth to embark on this journey. This is what is accepted in the developed world today where they look at youth in a positive manner. It is understood that a speedier journey towards development can be achieved through this,” the MP said.

He said that oppression is not the answer. The country’s leadership must join hands with them to go forward.

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