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SJB urges Speaker to restore TNA MP Sumanthiran’s security

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by Saman Indrajith

The main opposition SJB in Parliament called on Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to intervene in restoring the security detail given to TNA Jaffna district MP, M. A. Sumanthiran.

Chief Opposition Whip, Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella, said that Sumanthiran’s life has been exposed to danger and his security should be restored without further delay.

“We know the outcome of removing the security of political leaders who were under threat. When Janaka Perera contested for the Chief Minister post of the North Central Province, his security detail was removed. There was only one bodyguard left with him on the day he was killed. That was a very unfortunate incident. We have lost many good Tamil political leaders. It is our duty to protect the minorities and we call on the Speaker to take action to restore MP Sumanthiran’s security”, he said.

MP Kiriella said that an MP’s security should not be removed just because he participates in a protest march. “When Mahinda Rajapaksa took part in the Pada Yathra, his security was not removed. The then President Ranasinghe Premadasa ensured his security. That is political morality,” the chief opposition whip said.

Gampaha District SJB MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said that it was wrong to say a court order had been taken against the protest march. “As far as we know, the court order had been taken against violating quarantine laws. You cannot remove the security of an MP on the charge of violating quarantine laws”.

He further said: “It is wrong to describe the attempt to restore Sumanthiran’s security as an attempt to give security to a terrorist. Then what about the security given to Karuna Amman and Pillaiyan? Who is Pillayan? He used to come to my office on all-fours. Now look at how he stands up amidst his bodyguard soldiers. Sumanthiran was always against terrorism. It is unfair to rank him among terrorists”.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa: Sumanthiran was given a special security detail due to threats on his life. It has been removed now. However, the threats continue. I therefore request the Speaker to intervene in this matter to restore the MP’s security.

Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd) Sarath Weerasekera: I removed Sumanthiran’s security as he participated in protests despite police warnings and court orders. We cannot give police protection to a person who attends unauthorized protests which are illegal. On the other hand, if Sumanthiran has real threats against his life, he should not go to places where 2,000-2,500 persons had gathered. He did that.

“Even after doing that, he is still alive. This means he has no threat to his life. So we have been right in removing his security. I informed him that it was a joke to provide police or STF security to persons who take part in illegal events. He did so against court orders.”

Sumanthiran said in Parliament the previous day that the government should take responsibility if anything should happen to him. The STF security of the MP was withdrawn immediately after his participation in the five-day Pottuvil to Polikandy march by Tamil political parties, civil society activists, and people from the North and East, he said. 

The MP said that removal of his security would send a signal to those who wanted to harm him that they could go ahead. Therefore, if anything should happen, the government must take the responsibility for it.



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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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