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* Sri Lankan people have to decide whether or not to continue enjoying the freedom they have won - PM
Mon, Aug 12, 2019, 10:32 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 12, Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the nomination of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Presidential candidate did not guarantee freedom but restrict the liberty of living in freedom and the people should decide whether to safeguard the freedom they have won after the change in 2015.

The Prime Minister made this statement participating at the opening ceremony of the Green Valley Residential Housing Scheme in Ranala today.

The Prime Minister said that yesterday he watched the Pohottuwa Convention. Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa was appointed as the party leader and his brother was selected as the Presidential Candidate. He said he queried whether they were prepared to apologize for their old sins.

"Gotabhaya Rajapakse is contesting for the presidential election promising a safe environment without fear and suspicion. Has he apologized for all the sins including assassinations and abductions of journalists like Eknaligoda, Lasantha Wickrematunge, attacks on media institutions such as Sirasa and Udayan, incidents such as attacks on protesters in Rathupaswala, massacre of Welikada prisoners, criminal use of white vans, and eviction of shanty dwellers in Colombo etc.?"

Highlighting various democratic initiatives the Government has taken, the Premier said due to a number of measures instituted by the government such as to ensure independence of the judiciary, guarantee access to information, and establish independent commissions and an office for the disappeared, there is a democratic freedom in the country to protest and criticize.

"As such demonstrations can be staged in the country. In the past demonstrators were kidnapped through white vans," he said.

"I was blamed by every channel but no one was kidnapped. Not a single media establishment was attacked for berating me. I would like to ask whether any media institution was harmed, journalists were abducted by white vans, murdered or interrogated by the government. I declare with responsibility that there was no such incident. We have created a country free to sue us, take decisions against us. This is the freedom that has been established."

The Premier noted that yesterday a "terminator" was presented to the country to destroy the freedom people enjoy now.

Wickremesinghe urged the people to think again about who gave freedom by action, even though some speak of protecting freedom.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe addressing the gathering said considering the poverty as the main enemy of the people, the government is taking measures to alleviate poverty.

"We take further steps to alleviate poverty in the country. It is sad to note that some people act for political gains while we are hoping to eliminate poverty. If this program had not been interrupted, there would have more development in the country."

Participating in the event, the Minister of Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Sajith Premadasa said that the human rights of the people of the country should be protected and the subject should mandatorily include economic and social rights.

The Housing Scheme, which has been constructed in the Jalthara area of Ranala at a cost of Rs. 1.9 billion spans on an extent of eight acres and comprises 350 houses.

The housing complex is equipped with all infrastructure facilities including internal road systems, parking facilities, fitness centers, medical centers, children's playgrounds, day care centers, swimming pools and supermarkets. There is also a security service operational around the clock.

The Maha Sangha, State Minister of Finance Iran Wickramaratne, Parliamentarian Hirunika Premachandra, Chairman of the National Youth Services Council Attorney Eranga Weliyange, Homeland Skyline Chairman Nalin Herath and a large number of government officials were present at the occasion.


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