Govt urged to reveal MPs involved in violence


By Saman Indrajith

Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake yesterday (08) called upon the government to reveal to the parliament the names of the MPs involved in the ongoing wave of communal riots at various places in the country.

Dissanayake said Co-cabinet Spokesperson Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had stated at the post-Cabinet media briefing on Wednesday (07) that two parliamentarians, two members of a new party and a secretary of an MP were involved in the Ampara and Kandy incidents.

Dissanayake said Parliament had the right to know who the two MPs were.

The JVP Leader made the demand during a heated argument following a point of order raised by Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, who said that JO MP Wimal Weerawansa’s statement made in Parliament on Wednesday was totally misleading.

Kariyawasam: "MP Wimal Weerawansa on Wednesday said that several shops in Kuliyapitiya area had been set on fire. He alleged that an MP was involved in the incident and that MP had got the suspects released by influencing the Police. This is totally wrong and misleading."

JO MP Bandula Gunawardena said that if someone had tried to imprison MPs during a critical time like that such a move was totally unacceptable. "The JO expressed its support to the government to solve this issue and to build reconciliation between communities. In a situation like this, is it correct to try to imprison MPs?" he queried.

UNP MP Nalin Bandara also condemned Weerawansa’s claim made on Wednesday. "Some people tried to spread communal clashes to Kurunegala as well. Recent clashes in Kandy and Ampara are a result of racist seeds sowed by MPs like Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila," Bandara said.

Chief Opposition Whip JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake: "A government’s newspaper carried out a new item with the title ‘invisible hand behind communal clashes have been revealed’. Since it is a government owned newspaper we believe that it is the government’s opinion on the matter. If it is true we have a right to know about who they are. Therefore, the government should immediately reveal such information to the parliament. It is their responsibility."

JO Parliamentary Group Leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena requested Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to protect the rights of MPs. "During 83 Black July, the JVP was banned and several MPs were arrested. However, it was revealed later that the UNP was involved in the tragic incidents. Now the government is trying to imprison MPs again. This should not be allowed to happen. Therefore, the Speaker should take measures to protect the rights of MPs."

The JO MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena said that without pointing fingers at each other everyone should work to ensure the protection of both Sinhalese and Muslim communities.

Responding to Dissanayake and other MPs, the Speaker said that he spoke to the IGP and other authorities three times a day to ascertain information about the situation.

Jayasuriya said a Criminal Investigation Department investigation was in progress. After the CID report was released, Parliament could discuss the details mentioned in it.

JVP Leader Dissanayake: "Then minister Senaratne should not have made such claims. It cannot be accepted that ministers making statements according to their whims and fancies."

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