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* Sri Lanka to relax emergency laws
Mon, May 3, 2010, 08:48 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 03, Colombo: Sri Lanka Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne will be presenting a proposal to the parliament tomorrow suggesting to relax the State of Emergency imposed in the country at present.

Addressing the media today, External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said the prevailing situation in the country is favorable for the revision of most of the clauses of the Emergency Regulation Act.

"Since the ground situation has changed in the country today after the defeat of LTTE last year, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has no intention of maintaining the Emergency Regulation a moment longer than necessary," Prof. Peiris said.

"The scaling down is not due to any international pressure and the motivation of the Mahinda Rajapaksa's government at all-time is the wellbeing of Sri Lanka," Prof. Peiris said. It was not sensible to take the same decision an year ago since the situation was different at that time, he added.

The parliament is to meet Tuesday and Wednesday to debate the changes to the state of emergency law, the Chief Government Whip Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said.

Sri Lanka was under Emergency Rule since August 2005 after the assassination of then Foreign Affairs Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar by the LTTE terrorists.

The government vanquished the terror outfit last May in a bloody offensive that lasted nearly three years and restored peace.

The parliament has to approve the Emergency Law every month by a vote. In the past, opposition parties always either voted against it or abstained from voting.

The draconian law gives wide powers to security forces to arrest and detain any person without questioning. Sri Lanka has faced severe criticism for extending the emergency rule.

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