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Saturday, 26 February 2011






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State of emergency used only for nation's benefit -PM

Elephant rampage victims to get compensation

A person killed in a wild elephant attack will be paid Rs 100,000 was stated in an answer tabled in Parliament by Water Supply and Drainage Minister and Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena. It also stated that if a person injured in a wild elephant attack he would be paid Rs 30,000 while Rs 50,000 would be paid as compensation for damage to property. The answer was tabled in response to a question raised by UNP MP Harin Fernando.

Safety of Lankans trapped in Libya assured `Foreign Employment and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera said in Parliament that measures would be taken to ensure a safe return of the Sri Lankans currently trapped in Libya.

Addressing the House at the adjournment debate, the Minister said that 37 Sri Lankans who were in Libya have been brought to Greece and necessary measures would be taken to bring them back to the country.

He also said that nearly 200 Sri Lankans had arrived at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Libya. The Minister said that measures would be taken to bring them back to Sri Lanka through countries such as Malta, Greece or Egypt.

He also said that certain difficulties were encountered to bring back the Sri Lankans to Tripoli Airport, since all other airports in Libya were closed due to the prevailing situation in the country.

The Minister also said that another 107 Sri Lankans had been keeping contacts through the Foreign Service Employment Bureau. The Minister responding to a question by DNA MP Anura Dissanayake said that even though nearly 1,000-1,200 Sri Lankans were reported to be in Libya, they had not been affected.

Only few people in certain areas had been affected and the people seeking help to return to the country would be brought back safely, he added.

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa presided when Parliament met on Thursday at 1pm. After the presentation of papers and oral questions, the House was adjourned until 1pm on March 8. The House took up the Adjournment Motion moved by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake for debate.

Anura Kumara Dissanayake (DNA): I suggest that the state of emergency need not to be carried forward any longer since nearly 20 months have elapsed after the conclusion of the war. There is no immediate threat to the country. The Government has been unable to lift the emergency regulations even though a considerable time has elapsed after the war.

It is being extented in this House monthly.

The Prime Minister in his speech to present the motion to extend the emergency during past years, continually pointed out the war as the major reason for continuation.

The emergency was used during turbulent times such as 1953, 1958, 1959, 1980 and 1981. In 1959, it was imposed when late Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike was assassinated.

However, the Government only uses it for its own security and survival and not for the security of the country at large. According to normal laws of the country, a suspect should be produced before Court within 48 hours. However, under the state of emergency, a suspect could be retained in custody for 90 days with the approval of Court. What was the need of maintaining this special power? Why cannot the Government produce a suspect before Court within 48 hours and prove the allegations made against him.

The state of emergency also empowers the Security Forces to check any private house or vehicle without prior permission.

The Constitution of the country secures the freedom of speech. However, under emergency regulations, statements could be censored and any newspaper agency could be sealed by using these powers.

The State of Emergency has not been used after the elimination of terrorism to provide relief to the civil society.

Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody takes the Chair.

Certain media institutions had been attacked and certain media personnel assaulted. But no culprit has been arrested by using this State of Emergency.

Law and order were to be established in the country, we would have to end up continuing with the extension of the State of Emergency.

JVP MP Vijitha Herath seconded the motion.

Prime Minister D M Jayaratne:

My personal view is that the speech delivered by Anura Kumara Dissanayake was aimed at the impending elections. The JVP has always been against the Tamils since the early 1970s.

But today, they speak for the Tamils in the hope of getting petty gains during the forthcoming elections.

The Government has never suppressed the ordinary law by the use of the State of Emergency.

Our Government have been providing more relief to the people in the North. Even their marriage ceremonies were organized in the form of mega ceremonies.

The people who had attacked media institutions have been arrested. The members of this House are aware that hauls of weapons were still being seized. This State of Emergency had always been used by the Government only when the need arised.

The Opposition is not aware as to how they should pay their gratitude. During the time they lived in fear of their lives, the name of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was held in high esteem, but now they criticize him.

During the last rainy season, the Colombo city did not go under water as a result of the projects initiated under the instructions of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

On the other hand the Opposition should not criticize high positions such as the Attorney General, who have no way of answering them in Parliament.

The Opposition also criticize Policemen and servicemen. But without their services, how could politician walk freely?

Even during the UNP regime such incidents had taken place. Richard Soyza, a media personnel was killed. Many others too had been killed.

We don't condone such incidents.

We have never acquire land belonging of the people by using the State of Emergency.

We should avoid speaking of cast, creed and religion too petty political benefits. We should guarantee the rights of cast, creed or religion.

Jayalath Jayawardena (UNP):

We do not criticize the extension of the State of Emergency in a destructive manner. We criticize it going by the role of the Opposition. Our query is how far has the State of Emergency been used to provide relief to the ordinary people?

On the other hand if the situation in the North was normal and people were living peacefully, why was it that the State of Emergency is extended.

Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premjayantha: The Government had no intention of converting the Ceylon petroleum corporation into a company. He also said that the present Government has made plans to strengthen the CPC and expand and modernize the oil refinery.

The Minister further said that the present Government had taken over 107 filling stations in 2009 due to privatization during the UNP regime.

He further stated that the then Power and Energy Minister Karu Jayasuriya, during 2002 attempted through a Cabinet paper under the heading of "Liberalization of the Petroleum Sector" which was submitted on August 21, 2002, to establish a single Terminal company in which the CPC would have initially majority shares and IOC and other new entrants to the market, brought into the Company when the time was appropriate.

He said that the Cabinet paper also attempted to form the CPC into a Government owned public company, sell the fleet of bowsers and the garage to two or more local companies.

The Minister stated that these suggestions in the Cabinet paper were not realized due to the change of Government.

He made this observation in response to a question raized by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake on a previous occasion in Parliament.

Jayalath Jayawardena: If the Government's popularity increases day by day as claimed why cannot the Government hold electrons in the Northern Province? Why cannot the Government lift the emergency regulations and conduct peaceful elections in the North? I believe that the Northern Province Governor should always be a civilian.

A Adaikkalanathan (TNA): The Government says that terrorism was eliminated and wiped out in the country.

It also said that the LTTE was completely defeated. This idea was often repeated in this House but I would like to raise the question as to why the Government continues to extend emergency provisions. Does it suspect that the LTTE would raise its head again in the country? Does the Government have a fear that terrorism was not completely defeated?

Human Resources Senior Minister DEW Gunasekera: This debate was requested by the Opposition. Most of the ideas brought out are same as what are usually pointed out in emergency debates.

I would like to respond to some of the arguments raised by DNA MP Anura Disanayake. He said that there was no need to extend the emergency and the Government was using it for its own advantage.

The emergency has a long history and it persisted under six State leaders. This was not a provision made by President Rajapaksa. None of us prefers to continue with the emergency. It could suppress the constitution. We know it. But, the country is strongly in need of it to carry forward the peace gained. We have never used it in an improper manner.

I have used my vote both in favour and against the emergency in the fast. I was also a victim of the emergency. Therefore, we know its results. However, the book of law maintains that emergency was needed to face any type of circumstance that may erupt in the future.

Anura Kumara MP demands that we lift the emergency. At the same time, he criticizes the President for not using it to safe guard the rights of media personnel. This was contradictory.

We see that there was no urgent necessity to lift the emergency.

Irrigation, Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva: This adjournment motion was presented to the House that the emergency was not needed anymore.

I would like to remind him as to how the JVP violated law and order in the country in the fast, which made emergency a necessity to maintain peace. When the JVP concluded its aggressive atrocities, the LTTE began to destroy peace and order in the country.

During this dark era, the emergency was highly useful. We used it in order to liberate society. Our President salvaged the whole country from brutal terrorism. This was a great relief to the people in the country.

The Tamil diaspora is still active and being organized, while being in foreign countries. That was why we need emergency to the carried on further. By the use of it, we are able to check any place that seem suspicious for the security of the country. Anura Kumara MP questions as to why we were unable to act under normal laws. Emergency helps the Government to take necessary precausions to avoid security threats.

It was because of these regulations that Opposition Leader and other LTTE friendly people, could not distort the image of the country.

Measures could be taken against those making false and malicious statements in foreign countries against their motherland.

The Government has repealed several emergency regulations over the past years. Therefore, we have gradually relaxed the state of emergency. We only carry forward certain regulations which are essential to the country.

AHM Azwer takes the chair:

Arundika Fernando (UPFA): During the past decades, the country was very insecure and the LTTE was operating brutally. Hundreds of people were killed. Today this dark era has passed away and the people could work and engage themselves in their day to day work without any fear.

However, some groups were still trying to give life to the LTTE. We see that in certain provinces in France. LTTE supporters still use posters of LTTE leader Prabakaran. Therefore the extension of emergency was needed to face these challenges. We do not use emergency powers to subodinate or suppress people.

A Vinayagamoorthi (TNA): Normally, the state of emergency was declared when there was an emergency situation in the country. Non of the conditions stated in the Public Security Ordinance for the imposing of emergency prevails in the country.

Resettlement Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthi Muralidaran: MP A Vinayagamoorhti said that the public had no clear idea over the status of the LTTE suspects under Government custody. This fact was not true. These retainees were allowed to interact with society. They were allowed to communicate with their relatives.

The emergency was dangerous if it was used in a negative manner. But the Government only uses it for the well-being of the people. The state of emergency was not only operative in our country, but has been operating in many other countries too.

Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan: The JVP was shedding crocodile tears on behalf of the Tamil people.

This motion was moved targeting the impending elections. The State of Emergency was extended to control the situation. The State of Emergency was imposed in countries such as Australia, Turkey, Malaysia, etc.

The Indian fishermen disallow our fishermen to fish in our own territorial waters. The TNA is silent in this regard. Certain Indian Tamil groups were attempting to distort the image of Sri Lanka. We should intervene to correct this situation.

The behaviour of the Tamil Nadu fishermen affected the economy of Sri Lanka.

The statement made by Jayalath Jayawardena, that the Government was attempting to postpone elections by using the State of Emergency was a lie.

There were another 16,000 people to be resettled. They would be resettled in the near future. The Government would solve the problems of fishermen in the North as it did to the problems of the fishermen in the East.

Ajith Perera (UNP): Nearly 20 months have elapsed since terrorism was eliminated in the country. But so far, the Government had not been able to put forward a valid reason to rationalize the extension of the State of Emergency.

This Government was deliberately violating the Constitution.

Professor Rajiva Wijesinhe (UPFA): The State of Emergency was also imposed during the UNP regime. They used the Emergency Regulations against Tamils and the JVP.

I think it was a slip of the tongue when a member stated that Prabhakaran was a national leader.

Many Governments have understood that terrorism was terrible, while some of our people try to simplify terrorism.

Still the European countries and many other groups try to extend their support to the LTTE.

Higher Education Deputy Minister Nandimitra Ekanayake: The State of Emergency was passed by Parliament. The UNP imposed the State of Emergency in 1983. Now the people of this country have the right to speak and to protest. Today drug barons and the underworld was under control. For these types of operations the Government is in need of the State of Emergency.

Uvais Farook (UPFA):If Tamil people living in Europe intends putting down their roots in those countries, they must try to convince those countries that the relationship between the Government and the Tamil speaking people were not good.

Silvester Alentive (UPFA): There was a debate in Parliament in connection with the sad situation created in Jaffna. The situation was controlled and I offer my thanks to all those who took measures to control that situation. Now that area was peaceful. The people wish to see the light of development. The Government has to fulfill their obligations.

P Ariyanethran (TNA): The Government was arguing that Emergency Regulations were essential even to provide relief to the flood affected people.

E Saravanapavan (TNA): The question was if the Government provides relief to the Tamil people would the Emergency Regulations suppress them?

Even though crime was prevalent with abductions and murder in Jaffna, the Government was still unable to bring the culprits to book.


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