Police pounce on 150 PA politicos and supporters
By Chris Kamalendran
Police have begun a crackdown on some 150 absconding PA politicians and
their supporters who are in possession of unauthorised weapons and were
allegedly involved in election related violence.
After the arrest of Puttalam district PA Parliamentarian D. M. Dassanayake
— widely alleged to be the key figure in the hot bed of election violence
— police are hunting for more than 100 supporters, some of whom are believed
to be military deserters or underworld figures linked to the MP.
Anamaduwa Police Inspector R. M. K. B. Ratnayake told The Sunday Times
that the Police who found a virtual private armoury in Mr. Dassanayake's
residence on Thursday had carried out another raid on the same residence
on Friday after the MP was remanded.
Inspector Ratnayake said they had arrested 13 suspects linked to Mr.
Dassanayake but at least another 100 were known to have gone underground.
Puttalam district was the worst affected by the election violence with
more than 330 incidents and high tension. But Inspector Ratnayake said
the tension had been defused with the remanding of the MP.
In other areas, police said they had also carried out a series of raids
on the houses of former ministers Anuruddha Ratwatte and Reggie Ranatunga
and deputy minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon.
A special CID team sent from Colombo raided the residence of Gen. Ratwatte
and found a part of a damaged windscreen which is believed be of the vehicle
involved in the incident at Madwala where 10 Muslim Congress supporters
were killed on election day, police said.
They said that in Mr. Tennakoon's residence at Laggala, police had found
two revolvers, camouflage uniforms and masks.
Police also searched a guest house owned by North Central Province Chief
Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake and found weapons.
Police sources said that they were on the hunt for some 150 suspects
wanted in connection with election violence and the possession of unauthorised
weapons but the figure could be much higher.
Stop fawning: new Media Minister tells Rupavahini
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
Following complaints that the state media had gone overboard about the
newly elected UNF government, Mass Communications Minister Imtiaz Bakeer
Markar has instructed state media institutions to abstain from giving excessive
publicity to the government.
Minister Bakeer Markar said the UNF was committed to upholding media
ethics and having seen the gross abuse of state media which went on the
rampage during the past seven years to vilify the opposition UNP, the new
government was determined to inject some discipline into them.
Accordingly, The Sunday Times learns that the SLRC and SLBC news bulletins
are to be confined to twenty minutes with any coverage on the Prime Minister
not to exceed three minutes and on ministers not over one minute.
Similarly, state radio and television stations have been instructed
to refrain from airing a song composed by Rookantha Gunathileke to felicitate
the new Prime Minister more than once a day. Mr. Gunathileke had appeared
on campaign platforms of the UNF.
In addition, strict instructions have also been issued to abstain from
airing his other songs as some of the state media stations have been allegedly
giving overexposure to his compositions.
The government has also requested PA constituent parties and politicians
to seek coverage from state media institutions and pledged fair coverage
on them in furtherance of a new media culture.
Last week, the UNP media unit had requested outgoing media minister
Mangala Samaraweera to seek state media patronage when he held a media
conference and promised to help opposition politicians in getting fair
Quit notices to fallen ministers and MPs
By Tania Fernando
Letters have been sent to former ministers and MPs to vacate their official
residences, in order to make room for the newly sworn in members, an official
of the Ministry of Urban Public Utilities said.
The official said the respective ministers and members have been given
two weeks notice to vacate their premises.
She also said so far only one former minister has vacated his residence.
Though the newly sworn in MPs have been requesting houses, they will have
to wait till the houses are vacated for them to be allocated their houses.
"They are normally given on an availability basis and nothing can be
done till those who are occupying the houses at present leave those premises",
the official said.
A minister or MP is entitled to an official residence if he has no private
residence in his name.