FUTA condemns arbitrary arrests – The Island
GL: Government. uses PTA, having promised not to prolong
By Shamindra Ferdinando
SLPP Chairman Prof. GL Peiris MP issued a stern warning to President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the SLPP administration regarding the continued crackdown on anti-government protesters. On Saturday (20), the former foreign minister censured the government for the detention of Wasantha Mudalige, head of the Inter-University Federation of Students (IUSF) under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).
The former minister was surrounded by former ministers, Dullas Alahapperuma and Professor Channa Jayasumana. The rebel group’s visit to Kandy coincided with President Wickremeisnghe’s visit, which was supposed to receive the blessings of the Maha Sangha.
In addition to Mudalige, the security forces arrested on August 18 Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thera and Bhashantha Jeewantha Gunathilake, under warrant of detention. The IUSF, affiliated with the JVP’s splinter faction, the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), played a significant role in the protest campaign that forced then-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign on July 14.
The SLPP national list member alleged that the ruling SLPP’s response to the public protest campaign was contrary to its original policy. Stating that his group represented the real SLPP, Professor Peiris pointed out that they had voted against the imposition of emergency regulations because the group was opposed to the continued crackdown. President Wickremesinghe dismissed Professor Peiris from the Cabinet, at the request of the SLPP. Former Justice Minister Prof. Ali Sabry, PC, who served as finance minister for a brief period, was recently sworn in as foreign minister.
Referring to President Wickremesinghe’s recent statement that the emergency would not be reimposed, lawmaker Prof Peiris questioned the arrest of the IUSF activist on terrorism charges. The MP strongly defended the right of protesters to campaign against the government. Professor Peiris, who led the Sri Lankan delegation to the latest session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), said the ongoing crackdown could put the country in an extremely dire situation. difficult at the next 51st session.
The lawmaker said the government’s strategy, vis-à-vis the protest movement, could jeopardize ongoing talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as the GSP-plus facility provided by the European Union. Recalling the recommendations presented to Parliament, in respect of the PTA by him, on behalf of the government, some three months ago, Professor Peiris said there was consensus that the dreaded law should not be used, pending the full revision of the PTA.
The former minister said there could be no justification for the detention of IUSF activists as they were exercising the constitutional right to protest. peiris said The Island that despite the temporary relief received as a result of improved supplies, the overall situation remained precarious. The government’s failure to garner support from all political parties and factions to form the proposed multi-party government has underscored the crisis the ruling party has been going through, Prof Peiris said.
The former minister said President Wickremesinghe had recently been briefed on their position regarding cooperation which could be extended to the government. Responding to another question, the academic challenged the government to respond to harsh criticism that the 22nd Amendment would pave the way for a jumbo cabinet at the expense of the unhappy public, struggling to make ends meet.
Professor Peiris said the real opposition would cooperate in a campaign of resistance to the government. The MP said he believed the opposition could thwart the government’s plans to quell the ongoing protest campaign. The former foreign minister said the international community was watching the situation closely and those who believed everyone could be cheated would soon learn a lesson.