Sparks likely to fly on no-faith motion on Marapana

by Kesara Abeywardena

A heated debate is expected in parliament when the no-faith motion on Defence Minister Tilak Marapana is taken up today.

Opposition sources said they would raise all matters concerning ceasefire violations by the LTTE including the recent incident in Delft where the LTTE is alleged to have engaged in arms smuggling. Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to move the motion and open the one-day long debate.

However the government expressed confidence in securing the necessary votes to defeat the no-faith motion with the Tamil parties in the opposition also poised to vote with the government.

The no-faith motion on Defence Minister Marapana was submitted to the Speaker in August last year. The government had been continuously delaying the debate which prompted Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and other leaders of the opposition political parties to write to the Prime Minister requesting him to take up the motion for debate quickly.

It was finally agreed at a party leaders’ meeting held last Thursday to take up the motion for debate today. At the meeting Mahajana Eksath Peramuna Leader Dinesh Gunawardena also proposed to have a debate on the delicate situation developing in the Middle-East and the safety of Sri Lankan migrant workers working in the region. It was agreed to have the debate on the Middle-East situation on Thursday.

The no-faith motion against Minister Marapana is based on the incidents that took place in the Eastern Province last year. The motion is as follows:

Whereas due to his failure to take adequate action to protect the people during the barbaric and violent attack, as a result of which 13 peace loving Muslim civilians were slaughtered and 40 were grievously wounded and more than 100 shops and business places owned by them were totally destroyed in the Mutur and Valaichchenai areas in the Eastern Province and to provide protection to the said people under the laws of the land and to give necessary instructions to the security forces under his control thereby subjecting the said people to insecurity:

Whereas it has led to the people in that area to become uncertain about their future and whereas the Sinhala and Muslim people who live in that area have been forced to feel that the government of Sri Lanka has failed to provide them security, and whereas the way was paved for the LTTE to take military control of the said areas by the removal of army camps and battalions stationed in these areas on the wish of the LTTE jeopardising the security of the Sinhala, Muslim and also peaceful Tamil people living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces:

Whereas no action has been taken to prevent strategic action of the LTTE to chase out the Sinhala and Muslim people from the Eastern Province in order to launch the ethnic war, through which the Muslims were chased out of their traditional settlements in the North in a brutal manner 10 years ago in the Eastern Province as well:

And whereas action was taken by him to exonerate the LTTE of its brutal crimes by trying to cover up the inhuman and brutal acts of the LTTE from the world by declaring over the radio that the LTTE was not responsible for the violent attacks in the Eastern Province in the recent past and whereas he has made the lives of peaceful and law-abiding citizens in the Northern and Eastern Provinces insecure and whereas he has placed national security at risk in general, this House resolves that the House has lost confidence in the Hon. Thilak Marapana, the Minister of Defence in the Government who is responsible for this state of affairs.