Wimal Weerawansa stands today condemned by every syllable he uttered when, in the presence of the former President Rajapaksa no less on stage and brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the audience with a whole host of Buddhist monks in attendance, he devilishly declared that Parliament must be bombed from above and swiped out of existence if [...]


Lanka’s Guy Fawkes drops parliamentary bombshell: Question is, is it high treason?

With the former President Rajapaksa on stage, Wimal spells out why the House must be air-bombed out of existence if new constitution is passed

Wimal Weerawansa stands today condemned by every syllable he uttered when, in the presence of the former President Rajapaksa no less on stage and brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the audience with a whole host of Buddhist monks in attendance, he devilishly declared that Parliament must be bombed from above and swiped out of existence if it dared to pass a new constitution as proposed by the present government.

WIMAL WEERAWANSA BLOWS HIS TOP: Says Parliament must be bombed to kingdom come if it votes against his preferred wishes

A parliament that lacked 76 members to veto a new constitution was not worth maintaining and should be finished off without much ado with an air strike, was his message to the nation. The verbal attack came after he presented his literary work titled ‘Yadamin Bendi Akshara’ or ‘Words Bound by Chains’ to his mentor and master and chief guest former president Mahinda Rajapaksa last Sunday at a gala book launch ceremony held at the Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandiraya at Havelock Road.

It was a hashed up collection of essays about his imprisonment and political victimisation — supposedly writ during his brief lease at Welikada jail early this year before his hunger strike turned him patient and a pathetic sight at the Welikada Prison Hospital, no mean feat when you consider he had only two months to turn out his Magnus Opus compounded with a crying daughter and a wailing wife who missed his presence at their newly built millions worth mansion at Hokandara.

But little would he have realised that his public address to his applauding audience thereafter may well chain him further to the iron bars of Welikada due to the choice of words he thought fit to employ in oratorical flight to express his utmost contempt to Lanka’s Temple of Democracy, wherein lie enshrined the sovereign rights of the Lankan people; and deliver an ultimatum to its 225 members — Lanka’s most exclusive privileged club of which he, too, happens to be a member — that it should be bombed from above if seventy six of its members dare to raise their hands and say aye to the new constitution the government proposed to present for its approval.

At first hearing it may appear to be the idle rant of a mad hatter, prone to stoop to catch public attention and keep him in the public ear and eye. But it appears to be more serious than it first suggests. It may even be held to tantamount to a full frontal attack on the political state of Lanka.

But first let’s read what the man said ranting and raving last Sunday He said: “ When a dangerous constitution is being presented to Parliament, if there are no 76 members who refuse to raise their hands and say no to it, deny it the two third majority to ratify it, if there are no 76 members present thereat, what’s use is there of a parliament.” And borrowing a famous Sinhala idiom ‘what is the sword for if not for war,’ he went on to state “Is Parliament there to chop jakfruit? If the constitutional bill is approved in the House then, on the following day, a bomb must be dropped on parliament from above and destroy it once and for all?”

Pause for breath; and let what he said sink in. We do not have in our midst the Oracle of Delphi to read a man’s mind nor the advantage Roman Emperors had to call upon the services of the Vestal Virgins to discern the purpose and intent of mens’ speech but have to make do with and depend, instead, on the import of their message, and take it at its face value to decipher its meaning. And Wimal Weerawansa’s speech last Sunday at the Rajapaksa patronised Buddhist institute where he advocated violence against Parliament, was crystal clear that it did not need a Vestal Virgin to make it any plainer.

Treason is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill or overthrow the sovereign or government or the action of betraying someone or something. In English law it deals with the politics of betrayal. It was codified in the Treason Act 1351 during the reign of King Edward the III and encompasses the situation where ‘a man doth compass or imagine the death of our lord the King, or of our lady his Queen or of their eldest son and heir” or “even if you kill the king’s chancellor, your crime is punishable by death.”

This 666-year-old law is still in force in England; and, if anyone outside the perimeters of Soap Box Corner in London’s Hyde Park where ‘anything goes’, were to advocate the murder of the Queen or the bombing of Britain’s Parliament of Westminster, he or she will not be spared the Treason Act’s sharp lash. The crime of treason is no longer specified and defined as such in the Sri Lankan Penal Code. But, even though the terminology is no longer used, the crime of treason is reflected in Section 119 of the Penal Code which reads:

119. Whoever, with the intention of inducing or compelling the President, or a Member of Parliament, to exercise or refrain from exercising in any manner any of the lawful powers of such President, or Member of Parliament, assaults or wrongfully restrains, or attempts wrongfully to restrain, or overawes, by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force, or attempts so to overawe such President, or Member of Parliament, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

And reflected again in Section 120 which states:
120. Whoever by words, either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise, excites or attempts to excite feelings of disaffection to the State, or excites or attempts to excite hatred to or contempt of the administration of justice, or excites or attempts to excite the People of Sri Lanka to procure, otherwise than by lawful means, the alteration of any matter by law established, or attempts to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the People of Sri Lanka, or to promote feelings of ill will and hostility between different classes of such People, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.
These two sections will serve to make anyone calling for the President to be assassinated or Parliament to be bombed, an act against the State: in layman’s parlance, an act of high treason.

If one were to declare in public that the Executive President, directly elected by the people, should be killed if he or she does or does not act according to one’s own wishes, is such a statement not an assault on the state? A direct hit on the people’s sovereignty? By the same token, if anyone were to publicly declare that Parliament, also directly elected by the people, must be bombed out of existence and finished off for good if its members vote for or vote against one’s own predilections, would it not be an assault on the State? In lay lingo, an act of high treason? One need not do it personally; merely declaring it is enough to make him or her agent provocateur.

Furthermore is it not a betrayal of trust the people have reposed in a member of Parliament to call for the destruction of Parliament whose members have been elected by the people to represent their sovereign rights in that august shrine? And thus prevent them from carrying out their lawful duties by issuing threats that if 76 of them raise their hands to vote for a bill presented for their consideration, the whole House should be bombed and finished off?

It is not the first time in history the disgruntled, the frustrated, the rabid, the very scum of society had thought of blowing up Parliament to kingdom come if it did not do what they wanted Parliament to do or did what they didn’t want it to do; and it certainly will not be the last.

On November 5, 1605, a British ex-mercenary Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the House of Lords in Parliament but was discovered before he could execute his evil deed and the ’Gunpowder Plot’ was thus revealed.

Three hundred and twenty eight years later, on February 27, 1933, the German Parliament the Reichstag was set ablaze. Adolf Hitler who had just been named head of a government that was legally formed after the democratic elections of the previous November, used the opportunity to change the system and grab absolute power. Though no evidence exists to conclusively prove whether it was a lone anarchist who was captured, made a scapegoat and conveniently executed by the Nazis or the Nazi’s themselves who set fire to the building, Hitler’s benefit from its ashen debris has put his name on the top of the usual suspects list. Especially when he gloated: “There will be no mercy now,” “Anyone standing in our way will be cut down.”

The next day, at Hitler’s advice and urging, the German President Hindenburg issued a decree “for the protection of the people and the state.” It deprived all German citizens of basic rights such as freedom of expression and assembly and made them subject to “preventative detention” by the police. It was a classic example of how acts of terror whether they are real, false, or even accidental can result in giving aspiring tyrants the hell sent excuse they need to arrogate to themselves supreme power, in the name that such powers are necessary to protect the safety of its citizens.

Wimal Weerawansa has moved not only in JVP political circles but also in personal family circles where bombing parliament to achieve political ends was not an alien, unthinkable notion. Thirty years ago, on August 18, 1987, Wimal’s brother in law – wife’s Sashi’s brother – Ajith Kumara, a minor parliamentary employee, walked into the committee room in parliament where a meeting attended by President J. R. Jayewardene, Prime Minister Premadasa and senior ministers and MPs was in progress.
He hurled two grenades which bounced off the table and rolled close to the table where National Security Advisor Lalith Athulathmudalie and Matara District Minister Keerthi Abeywickrama were seated. The grenades exploded in front of them. Mr. Abeywickrama was killed whilst Mr. Athulathmudalie suffered serious injuries, notably to his spleen. The president and prime minister escaped unhurt.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, in the halcyon days of the corrupt Rajapaksa regime, bombing Parliament would have been the last thing on Wimal’s fertile mind. Then Parliament had given him everything he had ever wanted and much much more that he, in his push cycle days, would ever have dreamt of receiving from it as a member and the rabble rousing darling of the Rajapaksa fraternity.

But alas today, bereft of his political godfather’s grace and favour due to his own decimation in the public eye, Parliament no longer is what it used to be: the cornucopia of his hopes, which gave its best when it smiled most on his rising fortunes. Today, most probably, he sees it as representing the rubble of his own present lot.
In the wake of the uproar that followed his dastardly call to bomb parliament Wimal Weerawansa had the audacity to say, in a voice cut to TV media, that it was a ruse — sort of a theatrical flourish — to gain the attention of the public and that the Speaker had taken the bait and fallen into his trap and got his pants in a twist in the process. But it did not serve to quell the storm. As the gravity of what he had said sunk in, so did many come forward to protest against this blatant attack on Lanka’s most secular sovereign shrine.
Perhaps the fall from grace has begun to tell and fast receding hope of ever regaining Raja[aksas’ paradise lost has begun to take its toll. It cannot be easy to be Wimal Weerawansa and expect a night of restful sleep and wake up with a clear comforting conscience in the morn.

This year alone had seen the tumbrels of justice ominously drawing near and nearer to his opulent Hokandara mansion door. For the man who, in July 2010 staged a fast unto death campaign opposite the UN office in Colombo 7, against the decision of the UN to appoint an Advisory Committee to look into Sri Lanka and was miraculously resurrected as a martyr two days after the farcical fast started, when he gratefully sipped the powdered milk of human kindness Mahinda Rajapaksa poured down his parched throat, it must be a terrible time. If 2010 was the beginning of his ascent to the zenith, the year 2015 began his descent to the nadir, where he must now reap the whirlwind, for having sown reckless the wind.

On January 10 this year Weerawansa was remanded on the charge of misusing 37 state vehicles and defrauding the state of Rs. 91.8 million during his tenure as Minister of Housing and Construction. Police investigations revealed that Weerawansa had provided the said vehicles to his sister, brother-in-law, and active supporters of the National Freedom Front and staff members who did not have access to state vehicles. After staging a hunger strike which he instantly gave up after Rajapaksa visited him and a few Buddhist monks urged him not to give up the Holy Ghost so soon, he was set free on bail on April 7th, just in time to celebrate the New Year with milk rice at his palatial home where a young boy had been found dead in mysterious circumstances in an upstairs room in the wee hours of the morning a few months before.

Furthermore he faces charges of financial irregularities. One is how he found the money to build his mansion. Another is the allegation made by Ocean View Development Company Private Limited, claiming that a financial irregularity had occurred via the company, during the tenure of Wimal Weerawansa when he served as the Minister of Housing; and he stands accused of giving homes at the luxury housing schemes in Mattegoda and Kahatuduwa to those closely related to him?

And to compound his problems, it must give the man nightmares when he reflects on the two cases filed by the FCID against his wife Shashi, for fraudulently obtaining two passports including a diplomatic passport by submitting forged documents to the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

No rest for the wicked, is there?
With all the crosses he has to bear, perhaps, Weerawansa flipped under strain when he called for Parliament to be bombed. But, though the public may well, in one of its pious, sentimental and melancholic moods, spurred by Buddhist compassion and urged by Christian charity, to extend to this Rasputin of Lanka’s politics, an ounce of mercy, a pound of sympathy along with their ton of outrage over his incorrigibility, the Speaker of Lanka’s Parliament can afford no such luxuries and indulge anymore Wimal’s outlandish behaviour and grant him grace when he threatens to bomb Parliament if its members do not do as he thinks fit or as his Master’s Voice commands.
To the Speaker’s credit, he did not take the threat lightly but viewed it gravely as he must when the House he presides over is threatened with destruction -- blown to smithereens no less, if its members do not do what Wimal wants them to do.

In a statement issued this week on Tuesday, the Speaker the Hon. Karu Jayasuriya announced that an inquiry would be initiated against MP Wimal Weerawansa for stating that a bomb should be sent to the Parliament. “MP Weerawansa’s statement has threatened the democracy and the safety of people’s representatives,” the Speaker said in his statement. He said the incident had drawn the attention of both the governing and the opposition parties and promised that measures would be taken against the errant MP.
In England when Guy Fawkes was convicted of attempting to blow up Parliament, the Attorney General Sir Edward Coke told the court that the condemned Fawkes would be drawn backwards to his death, by a horse, his head near the ground. He was to be "put to death halfway between heaven and earth as unworthy of both". His genitals would be cut off and burnt before their eyes, and his bowels and hearts removed. He would then be decapitated, and the dismembered parts of his body displayed so that he might become "prey for the fowls of the air". It would be done to set an example, to act as a deterrent, to any Guy Fawkes wannabe in the future.

Perhaps, if the report of the Speaker’s inquiry should come to a finding holding Weerawansa guilty, the punishment meted out should serve as a warning to all presumptuous parliamentary bombers in the future. And brand them not only as "prey for the fowls of the air" but as foul candidates ineligible to seek the public mandate for parliamentary membership.

New yardstick to gauge MPs’ corruptibility factor

KIRIELLA: The new litmus test for corruption

A new yardstick was introduced last week by the Minister of Highways Laksman Kiriella to measure a politician’s corruptibility factor. Apparently, it all depends how much money a politician has in his reserve bank. And, according to this theory, the more one has, the less likely he is to be corrupt and susceptible to temptation.
By the use of this yardstick, Kirielle is beyond corruption, as he said so himself. By his own estimates, he told Parliament last Wednesday, he has over Rs 400 million in his bank account which puts him in the ivy league of incorruptibility.

In reply to a query raised by JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, who alleged that mega frauds had taken place in the construction of the Central Expressway, Minister Kiriella proudly said: “We do not need others’ money. We have been rich since the days of ancient kings. My wife’s grandfather had over 30,000 acres of land in Balangoda. My grandparents, too, had properties equal to that. We both worked in courts and usually paid Rs 2.5 million a year as taxes on our income. I have Rs. 400 million in my account. We do not need to steal from others.”

By his own measure, he is above board. But the yardstick was not his alone to use.
This Monday, Primary Industries Minister Daya Gamage told a group of fresh water prawn farmers in Chilaw that he too was clean and had no reason to rob the public. And, pray, why? Because, as he said, “former president Mahinda Rajapaksa invited me to join hands with him or to give up politics and join his business but I refused.”
“I had no intention to rob money belonging to the country, or the public by joining hands with the Rajapaksa regime. Therefore I choose a different path,” he said.

Slowly but surely, this new yardstick, which depends on what the politicians already possess will come in handy to a great many and will soon be the rage of town to those who wish to demonstrate their incorruptibility by reference to what they already possess. And shout aloud the new slogan in town:”Hey, I am filthy rich, and that proves I am scrupulously not corrupt.”

Except for one thing. As the Buddha’s philosophy holds ‘life feasts on life and death on death’ and greed has no end and remains insatiable. Which is why it is held that the richest man is the one who is content. But good to know that we have amongst us two ministers whose riches have made them transcend thanha. Perhaps it will not be far off when many more MPs rush to declare their assets and use the Kiriella yardstick to measure and to prove their moral rectitude.

Wimal’s NFF party restates: Parliament must be bombed

WIJENAIKE: Wimal’s party national organizer condemns Wimal’s bomb threat and is sacked

In the storm that broke following Wimal’s outburst of bombing Parliament if it did not abide by his wishes, one man from his own party, its national organiser no less, was brave enough to stand up to his leader’s rant and declare that ‘ the statement made by his leader Wimal, did not reflect the opinion of the party, the party had not taken nor authorised Wimal’s statement and that it was Wimal’s alone. And that he had checked with the party’s General Secretary who had confirmed it.

National Organizer of the National Freedom Front (NFF), Piyasiri Wijenaike on Tuesday, denounced the comments made by his own Party leader Wimal Weerawansa MP that a bomb attack should be launched on Parliament. And on Thursday moves were afoot to strip him of his post. It is not the concern of the general public how Wimal runs with an iron fist his one man show within his own party of handfuls. But what must shock is that he has shown no repentance to atone for his sin in his threat to bomb parliament out of existence.

One of Wimal’s catchers, a NFF MP Jayantha Samaraweera addressed a news conference on Friday and faithfully barked his master Wimal’s decree that Parliament must be bombed if it passes the proposed Constitution Bill. He said: “If the parliament approves this Constitution with a two-third majority, then the parliament should be bombed: it should be struck by lightning without rain and should be flattened. There is no need of a parliament, a cabinet or MPs. It must bombed. It must be turned into a museum. That is the stance of our party. ”

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya should take careful note over this growing trend that threatens the very existence of Parliament itself. Nay, he should use the Parliamentary Mace and all the powers at his command to crush in the bud the ultimate contempt that can be made to Parliament: For MPs to will Parliament’s own destruction by bombing it out of extinction.  And also bring it to the notice of the people: That those who have lived by violence will fall by violence and that Parliament is not the place for such vermin to find their burrow.


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