Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has urged Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya to find a way to provide security to former opposition MPs, who have complained to him that the withdrawal of their security is posing a threat to their lives and hampering their campaign for the general elections.
In a letter after he met opposition party leaders, the Polls Chief told the IGP he believes former opposition MPs --mainly some party leaders need police security.
Inspector General Balasuriya said yesterday he would make a full statement later on the withdrawal of security but did not wish to comment on the matter now.
The worst affected by the withdrawal of security are ex-MPs from the Eastern Province where armed ex-militants continue to operate.
Former Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran said former MPs in the north and east were facing serious threats from armed ex-militants and paramilitary forces. He said at Wednesday’s meeting, the Polls Chief had assured them he would take steps to get their security restored but it had still not been done.
TNA leader R. Sampanthan also said they were facing major threats from para-military groups and were unable to carry out their polls campaign. He said he had also appealed to the government for the restoration of security for former MPs, but no action had been taken so far.
Democratic Peoples Front (DPF) leader Mano Ganesan said his security contingent of eight personnel with a back-up vehicle had been withdrawn despite an Interim Order of the Court of Appeal.
“Till my case is over they have to provide me with security. My security withdrawal is an act of
Contempt of Court. I filed this case because of the great security threats I faced,” he said.
The Sunday Times learns that Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem has sought an appointment with President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the withdrawal of security, but the request was turned down.
United National Party (UNP) deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya said his security was also withdrawn.
“At the meeting with the Elections Commissioner we highlighted the serious security threats we face. I had been provided with security since 1998. This is the first time my security was withdrawn. A few days before the dissolution of parliament, 12 of my security personnel were withdrawn. By Monday the last four personnel and two static guards outside my residence were also withdrawn,” Mr. Jayasuriya said.
Last Wednesday eighteen UNP parliamentarians complained to the Supreme Court their security was withdrawn while some government MPs and supporters were provided with security.
They said among UPFA members being provided with security even after the dissolution of Parliament were Wimal Weerawansa, Lalith Dissanayake, Chandima Weerakkody, Neil Rupasinghe, Nirupama Rajapakse, Nandimithra Ekanayake, Jayantha Samaraweera and Weerakumara Dissanayake.
The names of S. B. Dissanayake, Lakshman Perera, Dhanasiri Amaratunga, Thushara Perera and Olitha Premarathna were mentioned as those who were not MPs but were provided with security since they were government supporters.