Threatening Speaker, a symptom of the times - Sajith


Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa presenting a Visiri Housing Loan certificates to one of the 530 homeless families in the Anuradhapura District at the North Central Provincial Council auditorium in Anuradhapura on Saturday.

Speaker of Parliament receiving death threats for not recognisingthe Joint Opposition as an independent group in Parliament bore testimony to the situation in the country, Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa says.

Addressing a ceremony held at the North Central Provincial Council auditorium in Anuradhapura to distribute Visiri housing loan certificates among 530 homeless families in the district on Saturday (13), the minister said the previous regime had ended LTTE terrorism and should be given the credit for that. But, it had failed to achieve peace. The present government had been able to lay the foundation for peace while safeguarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.

"On January 08 we ended a regime which had caused the people to live in fear. The so-called white van culture was the order of the day. Human rights were blatantly violated. There were widespread killings and other crimes.

"Journalists were killed. People lived in fear. We still have ghosts of that past haunting us. That is why some have been able to issue death threats to the Speaker of Parliament. One can guess the fate of the common man if the Speaker could not render his duties without being threatened.

Minister Premadasa said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had called on him last week and asked him resume the Gam Udawa village re-awakening programme, commenced by his father the late President Ranasinghe Premadasa and suspended after his assassination by an LTTE suicide cadre. "I am happy to announce that the first Gam Udawa project under the new regime will be in the Anuradhapura District. During the years of the last regime only four new housing schemes were implemented in the Anuradhapura District, but we are planning to implement 22 schemes within this year."

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