|We won't back peace bid if CBK's powers are trimmed: SLFP
Cyril Wimalasurendre in Kandy
The meeting, held under the patronage of the National Organisation Against the Division of the Country, was presided by Ven. Kalawellegoda Chandaloka Thera.
"The government receives the support of the SLFP in its endeavour to resolve national issues including the search for peace. But our support will not be forthcoming if the presidents powers are axed," Mr. Bandaranaike said. At present, the president is the head of state, head of cabinet and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, he added.
He said that Interior Minister John Amaratunga had sought to slash the presidents security by 50 per cent. "If this happens, I must tell Minister Amaratunga, that his house will be surrounded by people and he wont be able to remain indoors," Mr. Bandaranaike further warned.
Addressing the meeting amidst a heavy downpour, he said the United National Party (UNP) is worried over his joining the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in the campaign against the attempt by the government to hand over the country to the LTTE, when the JVP was responsible for assassinating Vijaya Kumaratunga. "I must say that the commission appointed to probe the killing of Vijaya Kumaratunga has not said in its report that the JVP was responsible for his death. There is no evidence against the JVP, in connection with this killing", he claimed.
But Ranil Wickremasinghe has become friendly with the LTTE and entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the LTTE, which was responsible for assassinating his own President R. Premadasa and Gamini Dissanayake, Lalith Athulathmudali, Ranjan Wijeratne and many other stalwarts of his party. But India has not forgotten the assassination of her leader Rajiv Gandhi, Mr. Bandaranaike noted.
He said not only the JVP but several other groups, including NUA led by Mrs. Ferial Ashroff are joining a common platform against the move by Ranil Wickremesinghe to divide the country in connivance with the LTTE in the name of peace.
If the peace attempt failed, Defence Minister Tilak Marapana said in parliament, that the government will resort to a millitary solution. Will this be possible. Our forces are discouraged now while the LTTE is warming up during the ceasefire. The forces have lost the spirit to fight, he asserted.
The Prime Minister has faith that America will come to the rescue of Sri Lanka if the LTTE waged war once again against the government. This is madness. America repulses only when America is attacked. America does not come forward to save any other nation, he said.
"Norwegian peace-makers are supporters of the LTTE and the LTTE is carrying on according to its wishes in the North and East."
Anton Balasingham willfully violated all accepted air-route laws and norms. Even President Kumaratunga has no liberty to change an air-route. But Balasingham had the liberty to violate the countrys laws. We believe we have one president and one prime minister in Sri Lanka. And they are Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ranil Wickremesinghe," he said.
"In 1956 Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and S. J. V. Chelvanayagam on behalf of the Tamils, agreed upon a pact as a solution to the issues at that time. This was opposed by the UNP and J. R. Jayewardene. They led a demonstration against it and the march was attacked on the way. The UNP was critical of making Sinhalese the official language of Sri Lanka. In India there are over 1200 languages, but only one official language and that is Hindi," Mr. Bandaranaike observed.
He further said: We need peace. Peace for the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities. But we need an honourable peace. No community should be subjugated by another."
Mrs. Feril Ashroff, Leader of the NUA, MP Wimal Weerawanse JVP propaganda secretary and MP Dinesh Gunawardena, Leader of the MEP were among the speakers.
MPs Nimal Siripala de Silva, Managala Samaraweera, Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Tilina Bandara Tennakoon, Arjuna Ranatunge and several others were present.
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