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Kiriella says govt. ignores Opposition’s requests at party leaders’ meetings

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By Saman Indrajith

Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella yesterday said in Parliament that Opposition’s requests were not heeded by government at the party leaders’ meeting.

MP Kiriella said that he had asked for tabling of the reports of the Presidential Commissions of Inquiry on the Easter Sunday carnage and Political Victimisation at the last party leaders’ meeting and for a debate on them too. “I also asked for advancing the sitting time to 9.30 am from 10 am to allow more time for MP’s questions but the government representatives have the majority in the party leaders meeting therefore our requests are not listened to. We can only make requests there,” he said in response to a remark made by Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando, who said that the matter of allocation of time for questions and private members’ motions should be taken up at the party leaders’ meeting.

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake:

We too have called for the tabling of these reports. We expected the government to have done so within this sitting week. But today is the last date. The government has failed to table those reports. These presidential commissions have met and published reports using public funds. Therefore people have the right to know of the content of the reports made using their money. We have seen newspaper reports carrying certain parts of those reports. The reports are not made public but parts of them are leaked to certain newspapers. More than the political victimization commission report, people need to know about the report on the Easter Sunday terror attacks where over 250 were killed and around 500 wounded.

Leader of the House Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena:

“We have agreed to table the reports as soon as we get them and also promised to give a date for the debate on their content. We have given that assurance to the House and it will be so. There is no need for you to raise the matter every single day. There is a history of reports of presidential commissions. You know that there have been many presidential commissions whose reports are still not released to the public even after years and decades. We will not behave in that manner.”



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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?

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… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.

 

 

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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others

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The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.

 

 

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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area

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Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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