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* Sri Lanka Prime Minister emphasizes independence of parliament
Tue, Jun 11, 2019, 09:15 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

June 11, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that he will never take measures to betray the sovereignty of the people and the independence of the parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers has no right to meddle into affairs of the Parliamentary Select Committee investigating the Easter Sunday terrorist attack.

The Premier made these comments at a meeting with group of representatives from civil society organizations and trade unions at Temple Trees today (11).

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe stressed that he is ready to safeguard supremacy of public franchise and sovereignty of the Parliament.

"As the leader of the majority party, I have been appointed to the post of Prime Minister, and I have appointed the Cabinet of Ministers in accordance with Parliament's approval. Also, the Select Committee was appointed by the Parliament. Therefore, the cabinet cannot intervene in the activities of the Select Committee," he added.

He said the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed with the agreement of all parties in parliament.

The Premier said they made two requests to the PSC.

"The first is to examine the charges against Rishad Bathiudeen and make a quick decision since the JVP's no-confidence motion against government is to be debated in July, it was important to make a decision on the former minister," he explained.

The second request is to remove the media when the intelligence officers were giving evidence before the PSC.

The Premier said the Malalgoda committee which was investigating the April 21 incidents has now handed over its report to the President and measures recommended in the report will be taken as soon as it is received.

Mr. Wickremesinghe said that he has given instructions to produce in court and release the Muslims, who were arrested by security forces during searches after April 21 but have no connection to the terrorist incidents.

The Prime Minister also denounced the statement made by former Governor of Eastern Province M.L.A.M. Hizbullah in Kattankudy. He added that racist speech should be stopped at least now since such hate is causing a great damage to the country. "We should act as Sri Lankans," he said.

He promised to acquire the university being constructed in the Eastern Province to the government. "Only the government has the authority to set up degree granting institutes in this country. Therefore, the government will take over university that is to be established in the East," the Prime Minister added.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the Government will set up a religious council to improve reconciliation among different faiths and religious groups.

"After this incident, we were faced with a number of issues. We are investigating the people involved in the incident at Kuliyapitiya, and the incident happened in front of the Dalada Maligawa. The Sinhala and Tamil communities got together and isolated the Muslims in these incidents. Many had talked about the incidents. However, we act according to the instructions given by the Maha Nayaka Theros. I am also talking with other religious leaders. They suggest that an independent body should be established to establish religious harmony. We are working towards this."

The Premier said the people are disappointed with the politicians today. "Some say that all 225 MPse should be sent home. That's also not good at this time. We must first admit that people are disappointed with politicians. We must work to eliminate it," the Prime Minister said.

Ven. Dhambara Amila Thero, Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Dr. Jehan Perera, Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Saman Ratnapriya and Philip Dissanayake were among the large number of representatives of civil society and trade unions participated in the discussion.


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