UN Under-Secretary-General in talks with President pledges to work closely with Sri Lanka – The Island
Crucial meeting of party leaders today
By Saman Indrajith
The opposition is set to decide whether or not to boycott the ongoing 2022 budget debate, after today’s party leaders meet over a complaint that Galle District SJB MP Manusha Nanyakkara was brutalized in Parliament by government deputies last Friday.
Kandy District SJB MP, Chief Opposition Whip Lakshmkan Kiriella said The island yesterday that the opposition demanded justice. “We see no point in attending Parliament if the Speaker continues to be biased and does not act against those who violate parliamentary rules and traditions. Everyone knows what happened on Friday and how our MP was treated. We fear for our security in Parliament. We would not be attending parliament if our security was not assured. Today there is no freedom of expression in Parliament. We plan to attend the party leaders meeting at 8:30 am Monday morning. If the government is not prepared to change its ways and keep us safe, we will have no choice but to boycott the budget debate.
SJB secretary general and high-ranking MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara said the highways minister, chief government whip Johnston Fernando, had usurped the president’s powers. “We can no longer tolerate this. We cannot attend Parliament if we are attacked by members of the government who have already carried out chili powder attacks and thrown chairs in the House. We will report this issue to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Union and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Personally, I think we should boycott parliament until justice is done.
TNA Jaffna District MP MA Sumanthiran said he was present in the Chamber when the alleged pushing incidents of MP Nanayakkara took place. “The parliamentary session was supposed to end at 5 pm but an extension was granted. The chairman gave MP Nanayakkara 10 minutes to speak after 5 p.m. The government side objected, saying the session should end at
5 p.m. The Speaker took the chair and ruled according to the wish of the government and ordered the sittings to be suspended. MP Nanayakkara addressed the President to complain about the injustice inflicted on him. At that point, members of the government led by the Chief Government Whip walked across the floor behind the Speaker’s chair and some of them pushed MP Nanayakkara down. There has been a commotion and leveling of allegations and counter-allegations. Government MPs say MP Nanayakkara tried to attack the president. I do not believe. What I saw was that the violence was started by members of the government.
MP Sumanthiran said the current situation in parliament with MPs resorting to violence had its roots in the clashes inside the chamber during the 52-day rule of government. “Among the din during the 52-day saga, there were incidents of thrown chairs, assaults on MPs and police, and damage to the president’s chair. Members of Parliament have the privilege of free speech in the House. There is no privilege to assault other members of Parliament. Across the country witnessed violent incidents by Members of the House in 2018. These incidents of violence should have been investigated and those responsible should have been dealt with in accordance with the laws of the country. Such a thing did not happen in accordance with the agreement between two main parties. The UNP is then the SJB today. They too are responsible for the current situation because they did not push for action against those who broke the law in 2018. According to the current situation, we will make our decision after the special meeting of party leaders on Monday. There will be a meeting of the TNA parliamentary group after the party leaders meeting and we will make our decision, ”MP Sumanthiran said.
JVP Propaganda Secretary MP Vijitha Herath said they did not approve of violence in the House. “We will decide whether we support the SJB’s call after Monday’s party leaders meeting.
Government chief highways minister Johnston Fernando said SJB MP Manusha Nanayakkara rushed to the president threatening the president on Friday night after imposing a time limit on debate in the House.
Speaking to Parliament on Saturday, Minister Fernando said: “CCTV video footage of the incident would provide evidence and prove MP Nanayakkara’s aggressive behavior and how he turned violent after the president ruled against further delay. . MP Nanayakkara ran for President in a threatening fashion and it is our duty to protect the Speaker. I went there to defend the President. A deputy does not have the right to threaten the president or a presiding member. Some members of the opposition seem to think they are the ruling party in this House when they make threats and demands on the Speaker.