Range honoured for reversing Oct. ‘coup’


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has honoured Palitha Range Bandara for frustraing an attempt by the short-lived Sirisena-Rajapaksa administration to secure the support of UNP lawmakers by bribing them following the Oct. 26 constitutional coup.

Jayasuriya, on Monday, paid a glowing tribute to MP Bandara at a felicitation ceremony organized by the Puttalam District Development Foundation, where senior representatives of civil society organizations, too, were honoured for their role in defeating the UPFA project.

Jayasuriya said that MP Bandara had proved that there were honest lawmakers who couldn’t be influenced through illegal means.

The Puttalam District UNP MP is the first lawmaker to receive recognition for refusing to accept a bribe.

MP Range Bandara is on record as having said that he was offered as much as Rs 50 mn by the UPFA to switch allegiance to President Maithripala Sirisena and then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Jayasuriya said that in spite of the constitutional coup that threatened parliamentary democracy, they were able to resolve the issue democratically. Declaring that the peaceful resolution of the crisis triggered by Oct 26, 2018 change of government was a victory for the country, Jayasuriya asserted that Sri Lanka retained its place in the world as a mature democracy.

Jayasuriya also commended the civil society for fiercely opposing the constitutional coup thereby creating necessary condition to reverse the government takeover.

Recalling the pioneering role played by the late Ven Maduluwawe Sobitha thera in public revolution leading to the change of government, Jayasuriya praised the civil society organizations for following the Ven thera’s vision.

The Speaker was recognised at the event as the person who had spearheaded the counterattack against the Sirisena-Rajapaksa administration. Ven. Dambara Amila, Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya (Convenor, National Movement for Social Justice), Saman Ratnapriya (Convener of the Trade Union Movement for Social Justice), Dr. Jehan Perera (National Peace Council), Rasika Seneviratne (National Peace Council), Jayatilleke Bandara (Sadhu Janarawa), Philip Dissanayake (Right to Life) and Saman Seneviratne (National Peace Council) were alos recognised for their contribution.

Jayasuriya told the gathering that he wouldn’t want to politically examine his experience in battling the constitutional coup during the period Oct 26, 2018 to Dec 15, 2018 though he very much regretted the setback suffered by the country due to the crisis in parliament.

Jayasuriya stressed the pivotal importance in ensuring a similar crisis never occurred in the future.

Commenting on MP Range Bandara role at the onset of the crisis, Jayasuriya said the UNPer from Puttalam bravely responded to a challenging situation at a time accusations were flying about lawmakers switching their allegiance for personal financial gains.

Gampaha District MP Jayasuriya said that there were far more important developments than changing of governments. Jayasuriya pointed out the daunting task in facing natural disasters as Sri Lanka was among those countries affected by such calamities.

The Speaker also pointed out that Sri Lanka emerging as a major transit hub for a range of narcotics.

MP Range Bandara told the gathering that he was fully back Speaker Jayasuriya’s battle to save democracy.

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