Ranil claims CHOGM boycott due to govt. sponsored attacks


By Lal Gunasekera

Opposition and UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had requested him to attend last Friday’s opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), at Nelum Pokuna, instead of boycotting it.He said that the UNP had decided to attend the function, but after the ugly incidents on Wednesday (13) and Thursday (14), at Sirikotha, where his vehicle was attacked and attempts were made to prevent him entering the party head quarter’s, the Leadership Council (LC), which met for the first time on Thursday (14), had resolved to boycott the following day’s CHOGM opening ceremony.

Wickremesinghe said the government was behind the protest carried out by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and others. He said that they stood by the decision taken by the LC for the boycott.

UNP General-Secretary Tissa Attanayake was of the same view. He said the LC’s decision that the UNP boycotts the CHOGM opening was correct after the unruly incidents at Sirikotha by government goons.

He, too, said that at first the UNP had decided to attend the opening, but the incidents at Sirikotha went against it and the LC decided on the boycott.

Attanayake said that the astronomical expenditure by the government for the CHOGM was unacceptable and the people of Sri Lanka would be made to suffer further. He was of the view that all that was to bolster the image of the Rajapaksa regime and that the economy would be badly affected. The JVP and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), too, boycotted the CHOGM for various different reasons.

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