Freedom from fear, biggest dividend of Jan. regime chand – Sajith


Freedom from fear is the biggest dividend people have been enjoying since the Jan. regime change, Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa says.

Addressing a public rally at Kendagasmankada in Lunugamvehera last week, the Minister said that his government had been able to restore law and order and people were now experiencing a freedom that had not existed in the country during the last few decades.

"When we gained independence, Sri Lanka which was then known as Ceylon had been called a model of democracy and all nations predicted that we would be the first to become a developed nation among the former colonies. For quite some time people enjoyed their democratic rights and lived peacefully until recent past where they witnessed that they were systematically being deprived of their rights and freedom being curtailed. During the times of Rajapaksa government people had no freedom at all and everybody lived in fear," Minister Premadasa said.

He said: "The rulers and their henchmen were intoxicated with power. They let their men rise above the law of the land. Police could not arrest the lawbreakers shielded by the high and mighty. Those who had the blessings of the top politicians smuggled in drugs, ethanol and narcotics while Customs officials were told to look the other way. As if that were not enough the underworld figures enjoyed legal immunity to all intents and purposes. The judiciary was made to suffer humiliations at the hands of politicians. The judgments were changed over the telephone.

"Today politicians do not give orders to journalists. The media are not being used to promote images of politicians. Some journalists who stood up against the dictatorship of the previous regime had to pay the price for their actions with their lives. Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga was killed and a cartoonist was abducted and it is feared that he is not among the living. White vans were sent to the houses of journalists who dared expose the corruption and wrongdoings of the then government. We have changed that situation. Today, people of this country live without fearing white vans, their phones being tapped and threats from politically connected underworld figures."

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