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Sumanthiran’s privilege issue referred to Parliamentary Ethics and Privileges Committee

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By Saman Indrajith

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday announced that TNA parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran’s complaint that he had been wrongly accused of evading sessions of the Presidential Commission of inquiry into political victimisation could be referred to the Parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Privileges.

 The Speaker said that a motion could be permitted to refer to the privilege matter raised by MP Sumanthiran on Nov 28, 2020.

 On Nov 28, 2020, MP Sumanthiran raised a privilege issue as regards the Commission of inquiry into political victimization and announced that he would be named for evading the commission proceedings. “I have received from time to time summons from the commission to attend before the commissions. I have been named a respondent in that summons. Since they were in the Sinhala language I wrote to the commission that I be provided with the material to respond and to send an English to Tamil translations of those matters. I appeared twice before the said commission and made the same request. There the Commissioner ordered that I be provided with material and their translations. Nothing of the sort happened.

“Last week, I received another summons very late after I went home from parliament sittings, and I responded to the Commissioner concerned the following day informing him of the fact that the material had not been provided to me in English or Tamil and I was not able to appear before the Commission when there were parliament sittings. Later, I read in the newspapers that Commissioner of Inquiry Upali Abeyratne had said some MPs, including me were not coming before the commission and we would be named. This is in breach of my privileges. I urge the Speaker to inform the Commission of Inquiry that I should not be named since I was attending parliament.”

Earlier in the day, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya called on Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to intervene in restoring STF security accorded to TNA Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran.

Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella said that MP Sumanthiran’s life had been exposed to danger and the latter’s security should be restored without further delay.  “We know the results of removing the security of political leaders who are in danger. 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.”

 MP Kiriella said that an MP’s security should not be removed just because that MP attended a protest march. “When Mahinda Rajapaksa participated in Pada Yathra his security was not removed.”

 Gampaha District SJB MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said that it was wrong to state a court order had been taken against the march. “As far as we know that the court order had been taken against violating the quarantine laws. You cannot remove the security of an MP on the charge of violating quarantine laws. It is wrong to describe our attempt to restore security of MP Sumanthiran as an attempt to give security to a terrorist. Then what about the security accorded to Karuna Amman and Pillayan? Who is Pillayan? He used to come to my office on all fours. Now, he has bodyguards. Sumanthiran was always against terrorism. It is unfair for you to lump him with the terrorists.”

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa: MP Sumanthiran was given special security owing to threats to his life. That has been removed now. However threats prevail even now. I therefore request the Speaker to intervene in this matter to restore MP Sumanthiran’s security.



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Southern MP warns that Russian & Ukranian tourists working here are at risk

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“They may be knifed or their lives threatened”

ECONOMYNEXT – Tourists from Russia and Ukraine who are staying in houses in Sri Lanka for long periods are engaging in business activities and should be taxed to prevent them being knifed by competitors, SLPP MP Chandima Weerakkody told parliament on Friday.

“There are many tourists who are staying long term in houses,” he said. “Though they come here they cannot use their credit cards – especially Russian and Ukrainian tourists who cannot use their money through their cards. As a result they have been forced to work and earn something in Sri Lanka.”

He called on the government to have a system where they can use their money.

“In our areas many tourists are cutting hair, some are doing tinkering work, some are setting up pizza shops, some are selling cannabis – I think there is a new name now *for ganja),” Weerakkody said. “If we send the immigration behind the tourists who are coming, even those that are coming will not come.”

“No taxes are being charged from any of these tourists who are doing business. Our (local people’s) taxes are raised. I am asking at least to have a system for the government to collect some taxes

“I want to say in Parliament that in our areas, a knifing (pihi anumak), or some other threat to life (jeewitha tharjanayak) may happen if this situation continues.”

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Kidney sale racket unearthed in Colombo

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Five duped to sell their kidneys at Rs. 15 million each

By Norman Palihawadane

The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) has informed the Colombo Additional Magistrate Ranjindra Jayasuriya that an investigation has been launched to arrest the suspects involved in the organized racket of obtaining kidneys from poor people promising big money and selling them to local and foreign people.The CCD told the court on Thursday that four men and one woman have parted with their kidneys, and despite promising to pay Rs.15 million per kidney nothing was paid.

CCD reported to court that the victims were operated at a Hospital on Cotta Road in Borella and no money was paid. A mother who was nursing a one-and-a-half-year-old infant was among those cheated.

The police told court that a person from the Bloemendhal area had referred these people through another man and a woman. Required medical tests had been conducted at three private hospitals.

Evidence has been obtained that kidney surgeries had been performed at a private hospital in Borella and the CCD stated in court that this racket was organized targeting poor families in Colombo.

It informed court that they have already launched investigations and will arrest the suspects and produce them before court.After considering the relevant submissions, the Magistrate ordered the CCD to conduct investigations and arrest the suspects and present them to court.

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Record highest number of school students visit Parliament

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School children wave during their visit to Parliament on Thursday (1). Serjeant-at Arms Narendra Fernando said that the largest number of school students in the history of the Parliament visited the Parliament on Dec 1. Over 5,000 students from 32 schools from different provinces visited the Parliament on that day, he said. More than 25,000 students representing schools in different parts of the country had visited to observe the Parliamentary debates after the Public Gallery was reopened for school students from Sept 19.

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