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Karu blames it all on govt.



Sri Lankans are witnessing the complete collapse of the state, says Karu Jayasuriya, Chairman of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ).

Jayasuriya has, in a media statement, said that Sri Lankans are under

immense pressure due to power cuts, shortages of essential commodities, the rising cost of living and lack of foreign exchange.

Excerpts of Jayasuriya’s statement: “The government failed to take timely steps to resolve these issues and instead continuously delayed taking vital decisions. The Government’s organic fertiliser policy destroyed Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector. Even though compensation was assured to those affected, the Government has failed to deliver on this promise. Instead the government has squandered public funds on roads and walking paths.

“Due to the power disruptions, the industrial sector of the country suffered a serious collapse. The depreciation of the rupee led to the decrease of the legal inflow of foreign currency into the country.

“These events occurred due to the severe mismanagement on the part of the Government but it is the innocent people that must suffer the consequences as a result. In addition, the Government, the President and the Prime Minister are being severely criticised at the Galle Face Green and at various places across the country. The people are demanding a democratic, transparent and clean Government. Various reports are now being released on how public money was wasted and looted.

“It was shocking when the Audit Commission reports to Parliament revealed that the ‘Sugar Scam’ of Rs. 36 billion was carried out with the connivance of the Government. Therefore, it is natural for the youth to be enraged when those responsible have not been punished yet.

“Many apolitical and independent youth groups taking part in the protests have called on us and they appeared to be devastated. They accuse some politicians of destroying and robbing their future. They are disillusioned and disappointed. The country must understand and sympathise with their restlessness. It was reported that the President has convened various factions of the ruling party today for a discussion to form an all- party government.

“In the last few days, we have seen that the Government is not focused on resolving burning issues affecting the people but on trying to retain power instead. This is a breach of government responsibility.

“We call on the Government to take immediate action. The public may lose their patience and restraint if not. Dissent cannot be controlled with the use of weapons. If the President’s talks are successful, the Government should take immediate action to establish a national unity government. The hand of friendship should be extended to the Opposition immediately. The Government must not expect the Opposition’s help if they intend to continue with the Upali Abeyratne Commission and keep actor turned politician Ranjan Ramanayake incarcerated.

“We opposed the 20th Amendment to the Constitution at its inception and called for the 19th Amendment to be enacted. Calls for the same are now resonating from the Galle Face and across the country. We kindly request the President to clarify his position on these matters before summoning the Opposition.

“Various proposals have been made to amend the Constitution and the National Movement for Social has made public our proposals months ago. The Samagi Jana Balavegaya, Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga, President’s Counsel Wijeyadasa Rajapakse and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka have also submitted valuable proposals. Some proposals may take months to implement.

“The recommendations of the Bar Association can be implemented swiftly. If the Government so desires, most of these can be implemented within the next Parliamentary week. We request the Government to take note of these in order to regain the trust of the people. We express these thoughts in great pain having seen the suffering of the people. It is the responsibility of the Government to at least take note of these at the eleventh hour and take necessary steps to resolve the issues faced by our people. “

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Wimal asks for PSC probe into top officials’ complicity in violence



Colombo HC lawyers concerned over shocking developments

By Shamindra Ferdinando

National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP, says a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) should be appointed to investigate the role played by IGP C.D. Wickremaratne and Public Security Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. (retd.) Jagath Alwis in the recent SLPP hothead attack on those demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Cabinet of Ministers, including Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Weerawansa yesterday (18) told The Island that Parliament should inquire into the unprovoked attack that triggered an extremely violent response by the public as well as those awaiting an opportunity to unleash violence on selected group of lawmakers on 09 May.

The former Industries Minister said he was confident that Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam, PC, would look into the issues at hand.

Responding to another query, Weerawansa said that Senior DIG Colombo Deshabandu Tennakoon’s claim that the IGP and the Public Security Ministry Secretary had interfered with his (Tennakoon’s) plan to disperse the SLPP mobs couldn’t be easily dismissed.

MP Weerawansa declared, in Parliament on Tuesday (17), that the IGP and the Public Security Ministry dissuaded the Senior DIG from performing his duties although he had received specific instructions from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to stop the march on Galle Face. The former JVPer questioned whether those conspirators wanted to show the world the failure on the part of the police and the armed forces to maintain law and order.

Asked whether police headquarters and the Public Security Ministry had responded to his accusations, Weerawansa said he hadn’t been contacted by them so far.

Pointing out that the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), inquiring into 09 May turmoil had recorded Senior DIG’s statement, Weerawansa said that the outfit could issue an interim statement on the matter.

The Colombo High Court Lawyers’ Association said that the shocking revelation, made in Parliament, should be expeditiously inquired into.

The Association’s President Attorney-at-Law Lakshman Perera said that the ongoing investigations had taken an unexpected turn in the wake of high profile specific allegations pertaining to the conduct of the IGP, as well as the Public Security Ministry Secretary. Pointing out that the HRCSL and the CID had already recorded DIG Tennakoon’s statement, pertaining to the incidents, and the officer was among a group of 22 persons slapped with a travel ban by the Fort Magistrate, lawyer Perera said that the CID couldn’t turn a blind eye to accusations directed at the head of the department as well as Secretary to the relevant ministry.

Lawyer Perera said that investigations couldn’t be completed without verifying accusations made in Parliament.

Lawmaker Weerawansa said that the question was on whose behalf the IGP and the Public Security Ministry Secretary intervened at a time the country was under emergency and after the Senior DIG in charge of Colombo received specific instructions from the President himself.

Although the SLPP goons did not shed any blood or cause any serious injuries, unlike the well-organized mobs that caused havoc across the country thereafter, MP Weerawansa said that he couldn’t comprehend why the police and the armed forces allowed the situation to develop to an extremely dangerous level.

The HRCSL in its initial reaction to the unprovoked attacks on those who had been demanding the resignation of the government condemned the violence caused by a group of people who made it very clear that violence was their intention.

HRCSL Chairperson retired Supreme Court Justice Rohini Marasinghe said: “The failure of the police to prepare for this eventuality and prevent and manage the violence and destruction is a gross failure of public order. There must be an immediate inquiry into this matter. The inaction of the police to prevent the clash is condemned.”

The Island brought the latest developments to the notice of the HRCSL yesterday as MP Weerawansa said that those who conspired and planned the project that involved those at the helm of Temple Trees then and the SLPP should be arrested. The conspirators shouldn’t be allowed to escape justice while the CID arrested those who carried out the actual attacks.

Police spokesman SSP Nihal Thalduwa said that the department couldn’t respond to what transpired in Parliament. Acknowledging that he was aware of the allegations made in Parliament, Attorney-at-Law Thalduwa said in case their response was sought through proper channels, whatever the queries would be answered.

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Dr. Pathirana says IGP, Public Security Ministry Secy. allowed goon attacks



Galle District parliamentarian Dr. Ramesh Pathirana has reiterated that IGP C.D. Wickremaratne and Secretary to the Public Security Ministry, Maj. General (retd) Jagath Alwis had facilitated the 09 May unprovoked attack on anti-government protesters.

The former Minister Pathirana declared in Parliament yesterday (18) that National Freedom Front (NFF) leader MP Wimal Weerawansa’s allegation, pertaining to the origins of the violence, was true.

Dr. Pathirana said that he was among those who had brought supporters to attend a meeting chaired by the then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. The vast majority of those who attended the Temple Trees meet on May 09 wanted to thank the war-winning President as he gave up active politics, the MP said. However, some unscrupulous members had instigated the participants there.

Dr. Pathirana said he had been at Temple Trees at that time and as he feared violence could erupt due inflammatory speeches, contact was made with Senior DIG in charge of Colombo Deshabandu Tennakoon. Dr. Pathirana said that the senior police officer had assured him that the police were ready to face the situation and confident of preventing those who attended the Temple Trees function from reaching Galle Face.

“Thereafter, I left Temple Trees for a meeting with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. There were several other members. When trouble erupted, President Rajapaksa immediately got in touch with Senior DIG Tennakoon, who revealed he had been asked not to use force by the IGP himself.”

Dr. Pathirana said the President had asked the senior law enforcement officer why he didn’t carry out instructions issued by him (the President).

The Galle District MP emphasised that the IGP and the Secretary to the Public Security Ministry were responsible for the violence at Kollupitiya and Fort police areas which triggered violence in many parts of the country. (SF)

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New Deputy Speaker not from Rajapaksa political dynasty



Newly-elected Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa said that he was not a member of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s clan.

The Hambantota District Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) lawmaker said so when The Island asked him whether he, too, was a member of the Rajapaksa family now under fire over the continuing political-economic-social turmoil.

Rajapaksa polled 109 votes at a secret vote held in Parliament on Tuesday (17) to secure the Deputy Speaker’s post. MP Rajapaksa defeated Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP Rohini Kaviratne, who polled 78 votes.

The SLPP rebel group members refrained from voting for Rajapaksa after the top SLPP leadership ignored their appeal to fill the vacancy through consultations with the SJB.

Rajapaksa succeeded SLFP’s Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, who quit the post twice, the second occasion after beating SJB’s Imthiaz Bakeer Markar at a secret vote.

Deputy Speaker Rajapaksha said that he had served as the Chairman of the Ambalanthota Pradeshiya Sabha in 1997. Subsequently, he became a member of the Southern Provincial Council.

Asked whether he was a resident of the Rajapaksas’ home base, Deputy Speaker said that he was from Pallerotta, Ambalantota. (SF)

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