End politics of hate, revenge release Fonseka – Ranil

Warns Govt. to listen or face countrywide protests

by Zacki Jabbar

Leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday demanded the immediate release of former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka from prison, while calling for an end to the politics of hate and revenge.

Addressing a large protest rally at Hyde Park Corner, Colombo, the Opposition Leader said that the continued harassment and imprisonment of Fonseka, indicated the deteriorating law and order situation.

Wickremesinghe warned that if the government did not listen to reason and set Fonseka free, they would not only take their campaign to every nook and corner of the country, but also petition the International Human Rights Council.

The UNP had been unfairly accused of abandoning Fonseka’s cause, but yesterday’s rally had proved their critics wrong once again, Wickremesinghe observed.

Prior to assembling at Hyde Park for the meeting, the UNP’ers demonstrated at Lipton Circus against what they called dictatorial policies of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, the high cost of living and the failure of Budget 2011 to offer tangible relief to the poor.

It was over two and half years since the war ended and the continued harassment of a war hero on trumped up charges, would cast the whole country in poor light, Wickremesinghe said adding that forgiveness, reconciliation and development should be the national priorities.

The Opposition Leader said that the hallmarks of a true democracy was the freedom of citizens to speak the truth, however bitter it may be, and accountability, but unfortunately over two and a half years after the war had ended fear, suspicion and poverty were still prevalent the country.

The government had not spared even the business community and those opposed to it were being hounded through the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilised Assets Act, Wickremesinghe said.

The acquisition of profitable private enterprises had sent the wrong signals to the business community and would affect both local and foreign investments, at a time when every cent was precious for the reconstruction and rehabilitation process.

A future UNP government would return all the private enterprises that had been acquired in violation of the agreements entered into with the State, to their rightful owners, Wickremesinghe pledged claiming that the 2011 Appropriation Bill being debated in parliament had offered nothing tangible to the poor, who had been duped time and again by the Rajapaksa regime.

Despite repeated election promises public servants had been fooled once again. Only a ten percent allowance had been added to their salaries and it did not mean anything since the rupee had been devalued by three percent and inflation was rising and already over six percent, Wickremesinghe said.

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