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SJB urges Speaker to allow Ranjan to attend Parliament

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By Saman Indrajith

Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella yesterday requested Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to permit MP Ranjan Ramanayake, sentenced by the Supreme Court to four years rigorous imprisonment for contempt of court, to attend Parliament sittings.

The Chief Opposition Whip made that request at yesterday’s party leaders meeting held at the Parliamentary complex with Speaker Abeywardena presiding.

MP Kiriella pointed out that MP Ramanayake would not lose his seat until the latter had served six months in jail and till then he was entitled to attend parliament.

Kiriella told The Island: “I pointed out that SLPP MP Premalal Jayasekera who is on death row was permitted to attend parliament sessions after he filed an appeal against his death sentence. The Court of Appeal in its ruling held that it was the prerogative of the Speaker of Parliament to decide whether MP Jayasekera be permitted to attend parliament or not and accordingly the Speaker allowed him to be present during parliament sessions. In the same way, the speaker could permit Ramanayake, who is entitled to hold his MP post at least for the next six months.”

He said that he also sought the permission of the Speaker to explain the matter to the House when it would meet today (18) and the permission was granted.

“SJB General Secretary MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran too spoke in support of my request. We hope that the Speaker would consider our request favourably and permit MP Ramanayake to attend parliament.”

 

 



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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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