for the rap
Big talk about action against
politicos but is there a cover-up?
By Nilika Kasturisinghe
At least five serious incidents of assault and violence involving
ruling UNF MPs have hit the headlines in recent weeks with both
the police chief and the party repeated assuring that the law would
be allowed to take its course and tough action taken against the
MPs if there is substantial evidence.
But now soft-pedalling
if not some cover-up seems to be taking shape with the Police Chief
talking more in terms of an internal probe against the police officers
concerned while the UNP General Secretary is also talking of exaggerated
reports and bias against the MPs.
incidents were reported from Nuwara Eliya, Seeduwa, Kahawatte, Galgamuwa
and Puttalam. Inspector General T.E. Anandarajah told The Sunday
Times that Departmentary lapses were also being studied to ascertain
whether the police officers concerned should also face charges.
He was referring mainly to the incident where UNP MP Olitha Premathiratne
and some supporters are alleged to have stormed the Seeduwa police
station and taken away a driver who was being held there in connection
with a road accident. The driver was reported to be a party activist.
The IGP said
action should have been taken to release the driver since it was
only an accident. He said police headquarters was now probing whether
departmental action should be taken against any police officers.
UNP General Secretary Senerath Kapukotuwa also appeared to be on
a similar line though he had earlier vowed that disciplinary action
would be taken against any errant MP.
told The Sunday Times it now appeared wrong information had been
given about the incident and he was told the suspect had not even
been locked up in a cell.
the latest Nuwara Eliya incident, where two police officers are
alleged to have been attacked by an MP while the MP claimed he had
been attacked by the police, the IGP said he was awaiting a report
from a Special Investigation Unit.
Parliamentarian Lilantha Perera told The Sunday Times he had gone
with family and friends for the Nuwara Eliya races and was standing
close to a barrier when the rumpus took place.
The MP said
he was told by a police officer to move away from the barrier and
he had obliged. Mr. Perera said there was a rush then and he was
again pushed closed to the barrier when a police officer came there
and hit him. The MP said he also retaliated but more than ten police
officers had then joined the attack and hit him.
about reports that two police officers had been admitted to hospital
after being attacked by him, the MP claimed he had done nothing
of that sort and the injuries occurred when the two police officers
were attacked by other police officers.
He said that after lunch when they were rushing back to Colombo
he had developed a chest pain and was admitted to the Cardiology
Unit of the National Hospital. The MP said he had suffered a heart
problem earlier also. He denied that he was drunk.
secretary Kapukotuwa appeared to support the MP and said interested
parties were apparently trying to throw mud at parliamentarians,
Police sources and eyewitnesses had a different version of the Nuwara
one of the police officers, SI Priyantha Amarasinghe allegedly attacked
by the MP had suffered a serious ear injury and was moved to the
main hospital in Kandy for treatment.
former municipal politician and Gampola businessman L. Samsudeen
Bawa claimed that he had seen the MP scolding police officers and
hitting at least one of them. In Kahawatte, a police officer allegedly
shot at a UNP Pradeshiya Sabha Member who allegedly demanded the
release of a suspect held in connection with an attack on a private
the case, the IGP said he had got a report from the CID. In Galgamuwa
last week a group of nine persons comprising staff and supporters
of a Deputy Minister of the UNP had allegedly assaulted a businessman
and his son.
In this case too, the IGP said he was awaiting a report from the
incident, supporters of a Puttalam district UNP MP allegedly tried
to rescue five suspected prostitutes who were being held by the
However, Mr. Kapukotuwa said no MPs were involved in the incident.
of monks on five-rupee coins
The portraits of two revered Buddhist monks will adorn the two coins
to be issued to commemorate 250 years since the introduction of
the Siyam Nikaya to Sri Lanka.
Central Bank's Currency Department official C.M. Ariyaratne said
the coins which were of Rs. 5 denomination would bear the portraits
of the Ven. Saranankara Thera and the Thai Buddhist priest the Ven.
Upali Thera who re-established the Upasamapada in Sri Lanka.
the same Rs. 5 coin that exists in circulation today, but the portraits
of the two priests will adorn the two new coins," Ms. Ariyaratne
action awaits ‘federal tour’ councillors
The UNP opposition leader of the Southern Province, P.M.B Cyril,
is to take disciplinary action against nine UNP councillors who
have defied his orders not to go on a federal study tour.
Dr. Cyril said
he would first call for explanation from all nine provincial councillors
who took wing to India and Thailand. The councillors are to return
on Saturday from the two week trip.
Chief Minister H.G. Sirisena said earlier that the trip was organized
in two batches and Dr. Cyril's name had been included in the second
batch which was expected to leave on the federal tour on May 16.
Dr Cyril said he had no intention of going on this trip but said
he would go overseas on a personal visit. Mr. Sirisena also said
he would also skip the tour but undertake another official tour
urges LTTE to return to talks
From Neville de Silva in London
The British Government wants the Tamil Tigers to return to the negotiating
table and resume the peace process. A Foreign Office spokesman said
that the UK government had publicly supported the Sri Lankan peace
process and would want it to continue.
was responding to a question asked by The Sunday Times at a weekly
Foreign Office briefing. The UK government reaction came hard on
the heels of the tough remarks made by the United States ambassador
to Sri Lanka, Ashly Wills, who urged the LTTE to contemplate on
its own transgression of the Ceasefire Agreement.
The UK Government
has already announced an additional $8 million to its aid package
for 2003. This announcement was made by Clare Short, UK minister
for international development assistance after the Oslo meeting
on aid donors last November.
expected to make another pledge at the international donors meeting
in Japan in June, if it is not postponed due to LTTE recalcitrance.
wants LTTE in Tokyo
Japan has urged the LTTE to resume peace talks with the Sri Lankan
Government and expressed hope that the aid conference in Tokyo will
see the participation of both parties to the conflict.
The June Tokyo
conference was emphasized as an 'important opportunity to discuss
the reconstruction and development of the whole of Sri Lanka, the
Japanese embassy said in a statement issued in the wake of concerns
raised by several diplomatic missions in Colombo over the LTTE's
decision to temporarily pullout from the negotiations process.
hopes that the Tokyo conference will be held as scheduled with the
participation of the LTTE." Calling for the early resumption
of talks, Japan said it had supported the peace process and contributed
to its promotion from the perspective of 'consolidation of peace'
in Sri Lanka.