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Weerasekera tears into Wigneswaran, Ponnambalam

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By Saman Indrajith

State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Rear Adm. (retd) Sarath Weerasekara yesterday challenged Tamil MPs in the Opposition to prove that they had a genuine concern for the welfare of their people.

Participating in the debate on the Vote on Account Minister Weeraskera said that so-called representatives of Tamil people would not even donate blood for the people they represented.  “I ask them if they have ever donated blood for their own people. When the Jaffna Hospital runs out of blood it is the Sinhalese soldiers who donate blood. The Vellalas will never donate their blood as they don’t want the socially disadvantaged Tamils to receive their blood. These are the very people who are talking about the aspirations and welfare of the Tamil people. They don’t have the right to talk about the aspirations of the Tamil people.

We have greater right to talk about the Tamil people. 

Former Navy Chief of Staff Weerasekera said that Rs. 174 billion had been allocated for Defence expenditure at a time when there was peace in the country. He said that after 30 years of war, there was peace in the country and in case that peace was compromised, the government would allocate more from the Vote on Account for defence expenditure.

“The minister said that if anyone was trying to instigate the youth and spread hatred between the Sinhalese and Tamils and laying the foundation for another conflict, then that persons had to be exposed.

On the inaugural day of the Parliament one party leader went out of his way to speak of self-determination and supremacy of the Tamil language. This august Assembly was not a place to decide whether one language was superior to the other. But, one could sympathise with him as a person who was clueless about the true history of Sri Lanka.

“We are a country with a written history of over 2500 years and an even longer Sinhala history. The ruins and historical monuments spread throughout the country are testament to the history of the country based on Sinhala civilisation.  Hence, knowing of this past very well, these statements intended to ignite disharmony should be strongly condemned.  

“Somehow, we must be concerned about his statement about self-determination. If self-determination is given to the North to fulfil the aspirations of the Tamils living in the North, then what about the Tamils living in the South? More than 50% of the Tamils are living in the South among the Sinhalese and the Muslims. Does this mean he is not concerned about the aspirations of the Tamils living in the South or is he fully convinced that their aspirations have already been met? Weerasekera asked. 

“Weerasekera said the particular MP when he was holding a very responsible position in Jaffna, had claimed that the Sinhalese and the Muslims had no right to live in the Jaffna Peninsula. He attended the Colombo Royal College and studied with the Sinhalese, then went to Law College and studied with the Sinhalese, then went on to become a magistrate and High Court judge and became a Supreme Court judge and lived among the Sinhalese and Muslims for 65 years and then had the audacity to go to Jaffna thereafter and claim that the Sinhalese and Muslims had no right to live in the North.

“This MP is eternally insulting the government and the Sinhalese people, Buddhism and the Sinhala language and engages in protests in Killinochchi demanding the removal of Buddhist statues.  He is none other than MP C.V. Wigneswaran. This same MP took oaths in Mulliwaikkal prior to taking oaths in parliament. This spot is where the most intense battle took place. There, many were killed and the battle was for a separate state and him taking oaths at this very spot is a clear manifestation that he too is has the same agenda. Hence, he definitely needs to give an explanation for his actions. As pointed out by MP Manusha Nanayakkara, such racist statements should be removed from Hansard.

“Similarly, MP Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said that the Sri Lankan forces had committed war crimes and that was the reason why President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had lost the electorates in the North. However, I want to ask him how come the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who commanded the Army during the war, won so many votes in the North when he contested the Presidential election. Therefore, I don’t think his utterances should be taken seriously as they are baseless.

“Although he claims the Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes , experts in the field such as Sir Desmond de Silva, Sir Geoffrey Nice and David Crane, Prof. Michael Newton, Rodney Dixon QC and  Maj. Gen. John Holmespic, after extensive investigations and cleared the Sri Lankan armed forces of war crimes and crimes Minister .”

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EC member Hoole moves SC against 20A

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Petitions challenging 20A before five-judge bench of SC today 

By Chitra Weerarathne

Petitions filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, will be called before a five-judge bench today.

These petitions have said that people’s approval at a referendum as well as a two-thirds majority in Parliament will be needed to enact the Bill.

All the petitions have basically said that the Bill has a section, which says a dual citizen can contest to enter the Parliament of Sri Lanka and run for President threatened national security.

The petitions challenge the powers vested in the President. The President could sack the Prime Minister and the Ministers. Once the Bill becomes law, fundamental rights petitions could not be filed to challenge an act of the President, the petitions have pointed out.

The investigating powers of the Auditor General have been curtailed. The powers vested in the Elections Commission when an election is on is also limited, the petitioners have argued.

The petitions have requested the Supreme Court to declare that a two-thirds majority in Parliament and people’s approval at a referendum will be needed to enact the proposed amendment.

Among the petitioners are Elections Commission member Ratnajeevan Hoole, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya, Attorney-at-Law Indika Gallage, Mayantha Dissanayake, S. J. B. Member of Parliament for the Kandy District and also the President of the Youth League of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya.

The Supreme Court bench will comprise the Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice S. Thurairajah and Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda.

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Senasinghe announces quitting politics

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By Akitha Perera

Former non-cabinet minister of the yahapalana government Sujeewa Senasinghe announced yesterday that he would quit politics. 

He had also stepped down as the SJB Deputy Secretary, Senasinghe said. 

Senasinghe said that he intended to focus on his business in the future and that he would commence work on his PhD from January 2021. 

He unsuccessfully contested the Aug 05 general election from the Colombo district on SJB ticket.

Senasinghe commenced his political career as a member of the Western Provincial Council of the UNP. He was elected to Parliament twice from the same party. 

He earned notoriety by publishing a book denying the bond scam ever took place.

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Pujith insists his hands were tied during crucial period 

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

He had been aware that the activities and preaching of Islamists would have an impact on reconciliation, but those in higher positions were convinced otherwise, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara, yesterday, told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

The ex-IGP said that although he too had received information about activities of Islamic extremists by late 2018, he had been barred from the National Security Council (NSC) by then.

“I couldn’t share the information I had and I didn’t know what was discussed there. I couldn’t even assign a senior officer to represent me there.”

Jayasundara added that after he had received, on April 09, a report from State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena about a possible terrorist attack, he forwarded the report to SDIG of Western Province, Nandana Munasinghe, SDIG crimes and STF M.R. Latheef, DIG special protection range Priyalal Dasanayake and Director of the Terrorism Investigation Division, Waruna Jayasundara and spoke to them over the phone.

Jayasundara said that he had also phoned all SDIGs in charge of provinces. The witness added that he had wanted to ensure that there would not be a leak, causing unnecessary problems in society.

“For example, the letter I sent to the Special Protection Range (SPR) was leaked to the media after the attacks.”

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