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PM assures return to calm


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 9 March 2018 00:00


 

  • Kandy quiet as curfew lifted during day, curfew re-imposed at night
  • No major incidents reported from outside Kandy 
  • PM says President swore in MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara as Law and Order Minister on his recommendation 
  • New Minister to work full-time to restore peace, directives given to provide food supplies to Kandy 
  • Compensation process already started, homes to complete distribution swiftly 
  • Clashes tainted SL’s international reputation, warns impact on tourism  

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, delivering his customary update on security, yesterday said calm had largely returned to the Kandy District and assured that directives to provide security as well as other public needs including food supplies had been issued to return the area to normalcy as soon as possible.

Issuing a statement to the media, Wickremesinghe said unrest had been reported in Katugastota, Alawathugoda and Pujapitiya on Wednesday night but the incidents had been controlled by a prevailing curfew. No other incidents of violence had been reported from the Kandy District, which resulted in curfew being lifted at 10.00 a.m. yesterday morning. 

Curfew was re-imposed for 12 hours from 6.00 p.m. on Thursday night. 

Minor incidents such as stone-throwing had been reported from Giriulla, Weligama and Kuruvita outside the Kandy District but the Prime Minister insisted the situation had remained calm in the country overall. 

“What we understand is the reason violence grew to this extent was because of hate speech spreading across social media. This is why a temporary suspension of these platforms has been placed by the Government. Police are questioning several suspects over spreading hate and incendiary messages over social media,” he said.

“On my recommendation President Maithripala Sirisena appointed UNP MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara as the new Law and Order Minister. As such Minister Bandara is working to ensure the peace and safety of the public on a full-time basis. I had discussions with the new minister, Defence Secretary and Law and Order Ministry Secretary as well as top officials of the police and army to get the latest information on the security situation and give further directives to them. We have informed the relevant authorities to make all efforts to distribute food to affected areas in Kandy and ensure there are no food shortages. We have already started efforts to provide compensation to the affected people and expect to conclude it at the earliest possible opportunity.” 

The Prime Minister reiterated the long-term fallout from the violence and called on the public to be aware of the international loss of reputation resulting from the chaos. He also warned that the clashes would have an impact on the tourism industry. 

“It is clear that these clashes were perpetrated by a small group of people. The majority of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims in this country simply want to live peaceful lives, especially after the end of a 30-year conflict. Protecting the lives and property of the public is our duty and responsibility and we are dedicated to achieving this.”     

 


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