The main opposition United National Party yesterday charged that there had been 81 killings in the first 31 days of President Mahinda Rajapakse`s term in office and that the response of the Government to the breakdown of national security has been lackadaisical at best.
Addressing a news conference in Colombo yesterday, UNP Deputy General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that of the 81 people killed since November 17, 43 were security forces personnel.
?Meanwhile the government is still too busy blaming the UNP and the ceasefire agreement for all these killings. Other than that its response to the breakdown of national security has been lackadaisical at best,? Mr. Attanayake told journalists.
He said it was up to the government now to renegotiate the CFA or abrogate it if it was the cause of the deteriorating situation in the north and east.
Mr. Attanayake said the need of the hour was to start the peace talks immediately to avert further senseless killings in the north and east.
Referring to a news story in an Indian daily, The Hindu, Mr. Attanayake said India too promoted a political solution along federal lines, and the President would now be compelled to follow this path.
?The President will now have to abandon his election allies and his Chinthanaya,? he added. Also addressing the media conference, UNP Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said that President Mahinda Rajapakse was now following in the footsteps of UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to the letter, despite ideological pledges made prior to the Presidential poll.
?The JVP and the JHU have now been abandoned by the wayside and it is the UNP`s peace agenda that the Rajapakse-led UPFA is taking forward,? Mr. Jayasekera said.
He said that the President`s election allies, having been responsible for bringing him into office, had a duty towards their electorate to join the government and support Mr. Rajapakse`s policies.
?The JVPers need to remember that it is not them, but the UNP that is in opposition now. Let us do that job and they can go and sit with the government they brought to power,? charged Mr. Jayasekera.
Mr. Jayasekera also claimed that the World Bank had suspended five major Sri Lankan projects, withdrawing 21 billion US dollars allocated for these programmes. The five projects include the ports efficiency improvement programme, the urban settlement improvement plan and the power sector reform programme.
He said there was now a concern that foreign funding would dry up further in the near future, resulting in a severe economic crisis in the country. He said the massive losses on the Colombo bourse were also indications that investors were running scared in the face of economic mismanagement and heightened fear of a resumption of hostilities.