‘Terrorism, extremism should be eliminated’
Terrorism that began with the Easter Sunday’s suicide attacks should be eliminated, TNA MP Dharmalingam Siddarthan said.
He said that this attack had not been made targeting a particular race, religion or creed and it is mere terrorism.
He added that the majority Muslims against terror complain that they face difficulties after this attack.
“We faced difficulties like this during the time when the LTTE held sway,” MP Siddarthan said. “So we request you all to take measures to eradicate extremism and terrorism,”
Joining the adjournment motion debated for the third day on the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attack,
MP Siddarthan said that the government in 1983 did not attempt to deal with the Thirunelveli Bomb Blast incident politically. It resulted in the 1983 Black July riot which later turned into a three decade bloodshed. He said however the government is handling the matter politically in this incident and he hoped that the matter will come to an end soon.
COPE will probe ‘Sharia University’ project – Handunnetti
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP Sunil Handunnetti said he will summon the Board of Investment (BOI), the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Vocational Training Authority (VTA) and all the other institutions which have links with the controversial ‘Sharia University’ project in Batticaloa on 21 May before the Committee on Public Enterprises, as COPE Chairnman,
Handunnetti urged not to mention the said educational establishment as a “training centre” or a “university” and referred to it as “a business”.
“This institute tries to register as a University these days. Now the government tries to escape from this problem by saying that this controversial project was started during the former government. Let us say that it is true. But then, why is the current government letting the project to continue without any investigation?” Handunnetti questioned.
“Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella earlier today made some remarks about leasing 35 acres to Sri Lanka HIRA Foundation (SLHF) for building this so called University in 2013.That land was owned by the Mahaweli Development Authority. How is it possible for a state department to hand over its lands to a Non-Government Organization like that? The Leader of the House forgot to mention that fact. The other thing which Kiriella forgot to mention the owner of this HIRA Foundation and who owns the shares of this ‘Sharia University’ project. Is he scared to say that this HIRA Foundation is owned by none other than Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M Hizbullah?” he further questioned.
“We should investigate these things thoroughly. That is why I hope to summon all the relevant institutions related to this project at the COPE. I am doing it within the power I have as the COPE Chairman. Everyone related to this project should be questioned,” he added.
Opposition will assist Govt to combat terror – Opposition Leader
The Opposition will assist the government to combat Islamist extremism in the country, Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday.
He added the Opposition will not attempt to take petty political advantage from this incident.
He made these observations joining the adjournment motion debated for the third day on the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks by the Islam extremists and its impact on tourism industry and other related industries.
He said all citizens live in fear in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks and this new form of terrorism is totally different from what the country experienced for three decades. He sought public assistance to defeat extremist forces bent on committing destruction.
He requested the government not to open schools until the situation was brought back to normal heeding the advice of His Eminence Cardinal Ranjith and the Most Venerable Maha Nayaka Theras who requested to do so.
He also said that all members in the government should only have one view on this issue. He said however the President, the Prime Minister and other members held different views and the public stand to lose the confidence on national security.
The Opposition Leader also requested the Police and security forces be allowed to handle this situation.
He said not all Muslims are terrorists. He said that as all object to the Counter Terrorism Act measures to amend the Prevention of Terrorism Act to include the other required amendments should be done without delay.
All Minority laws should be brought under the Fundamental Rights chapter – Jayampathy
All Minority laws should be brought under the Fundamental Rights chapter and the Supreme Court should be allowed to take the decision on what complies with the Fundamental Rights laws and what does not, said UNP MP Jayampathy Wickramaratne.
Joining the debate on the current security situation in the country, he commented on the views expressed regarding various laws in the country such as the Desavalamai law, Kandyan law and the Muslim law. “I was one who always said that all other laws of various segments of society should come under the Fundamental Rights chapter.”
Focusing on the Kandyan laws, he said it has certain of these laws are unfair to females but some are very progressive. “It is the same with the Muslim laws and many Muslim women complain to us that it is unfair to them. But this does not mean that all these laws must be abolished as they are issues pertaining to their relevant cultures.”
He warned that despite the desire of some to do so, these minority laws will never be abolished in this Parliament.
“Therefore, if all private laws are incorporated into the Fundamental Rights laws, then the decision on such matters falls under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will decide on which sections of these minority laws are in line with the Fundamental rights laws and what are not. Then even Parliament will accept its decision. But, if we try to do it in Parliament, it will never happen,” he said.
He pointed out that the LTTE had international connections to some extent, but the current threat faced by the country is several folds greater than what the country faced during the war. It seems like the IS has given a franchise to this group in Sri Lanka.
“We would like to urge the Muslim leaders not to make the same mistake that was made by the Tamil leaders earlier. They referred to the acts of these LTTE members at the time as acts of young boys. I met a Tamil priest at a conference overseas who asked me why we were so worried about certain small human rights violations by young boys.
I told him there are no small human rights violations and that they are all violations. Hence, the Muslim leaders should not make the same foolish mistakes that the Tamil leaders did at the time.
Hence, they have a huge responsibility to prevent extremism and educate those concerned. We too have a responsibility not to fuel extremist sentiments,” Wickramaratne said.
He expressed sadness regarding the manner in which certain social media sites are being used to spread hatred against the Muslims. “When Muslim youths read these derogatory posts, it only served to push them towards extremism and violence.
Then it becomes harder to get them back on track.
There were many requests to boycott Muslim businesses. If this happens and these businesses close down, the owner will manage to invest elsewhere, but what happens to those who lose their jobs? This could pave the way for them to move towards the extremists,” he said, urging the people to act very responsibly without aggravating the situation.
Hira Foundation permitted to set up only vocational training center – Kiriella
Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella yesterday revealed that the controversial vocational training center in Batticaloa had several discrepancies pertaining to its establishment.
Kiriella said 35 acres of land was leased to Hira Foundation in 2013 to set up a training center in 2013, for an estimated lease of Rs. 491,200 per year. Taxes amounting to this were also paid, he added.
However, Minister Kiriella pointed out that it was later discovered that the said Hira Foundation was registered in 2014, despite it getting 35 acres of land to establish the training center in 2013.
“This is why we are saying both parties need to take responsibility of this and move on.” Minister Kiriella said.
He made these observations when the Opposition demanded the government to take over the said ‘Sharia University’ and said the government should be responsible in turning the training center into a university.
According to the Minister, the said ‘training center’ is not a “university” as claimed by many. He pointed out that Yahapalana government refused the request proposal to accept the said training center as a “university” which was forwarded by then Higher Education Minister Sarath Amunugama, in July 3, 2015.
Minister Rishad wants Select Committee to probe allegations
Industry and Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Vocational Training and Skills Development Minister Rishad Bathiudeen requested the Speaker to appoint a Select Committee to probe into allegations against him by MPs and others.
Joining the adjournment motion debated for the third day on the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attack, he added that when he went abroad for official work, the media and Opposition members said that he fled the country.
“As far as it is wrong, allegations that I am involved with this extremism is baseless. “So I request the Speaker to set up a Select Committee to investigate allegations levelled against me,” Minister Bathiudeen said.
He added that the Islam never promotes terrorism but peace.Islam never accepts the terrorist activities that were commenced by the extremists. Nabi never accepted terrorism. He requested not to misinterpret the Quran. “We condole with the relatives of those who died in the attack and those who were injured,” Minister Bathiudeen said.
He said MP S. B. Dissanayake made false allegations as he did not join 52 day government.
“Muslims are ready to support to eradicate terrorism. All Muslims are not terrorists,” he said.
Search operations must be more productive – Dinesh
Mahajana Eksath Peramuna Leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday questioned what the government’s position was on the extension of the state of emergency declared in the country.
Gunawardena asked as to why the government had not listed the extension of the State of Emergency in the activity list of yesterday’s session.When would Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe make a statement on the government’s stance, Gunawardena questioned. The gazette on declaring the State of Emergency needs to be extended, if the government is considering such, he pointed out.
“We have not listed the extension of the State of Emergency. Why have you not? We do have some reservations on it, but we are supporting the extension of the state of emergency because the country has not been properly brought under security that we want. Day to day life has to be restored. Until it is restored and all the conspirators are brought before justice, they have to be taken into custody, they have to be questioned, links have to be established. That is why you need state of emergency extended.” MP Gunawardena pointed out.
Speaking at the adjournment debate on the prevailing situation in the country following the Easter Sunday carnage, Gunawardena pointed out that the door-to-door search operations need to be intensified and more structured. He urged that security forces should be assisted by security committees working together with the public to make these search operations more productive.
“There are certain areas which are not yet properly searched. I won’t speak about which police stations or which areas. Some places where extremists are meeting have not being searched as yet. Intelligence reports should give this information. I don’t want to criticize any individual in the government. You all have been criticized enough. But you have to do your duty,” he said.