National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa
UPFA MP Keheliya Rambukwella
- Rajapaksa supports JO decision
- Weerawansa says motion because Govt. failed to act
By Nuwan Senarathna
Joint Opposition (JO) parliamentarians will today handover a No-Confidence Motion against Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.
Parliamentarians backing Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, along with MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana, decided to bring a No-Confidence Motion against Minister Bathiudeen following the Easter Sunday attacks. Following a discussion with Rajapaksa, JO parliamentarians had decided to present the No-Confidence Motion to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Thursday.
Speaking to media at the Opposition Leader’s office, MP Wimal Weerawansa said the JO group unanimously agreed to support the No-Confidence Motion against the Minister.
“We will bring the No-Confidence Motion against Minister Bathiudeen as there are serious allegations against him and several other Muslim MPs in the Government, that they had connections with some extremist groups, as we cannot take those allegations lightly,” Weerawansa said.
He said the move had to be taken as the Government and the President failed to take action over allegations levelled against Bathiudeen. He argued if the President had suspended Bathiudeen from his ministerial portfolio, or if the Minister resigned from his post the decision would not have been taken.
“The people kept asking why the Government failed to take any action against MPs that were believed to have links with the Easter Sunday attackers. I believe the Government should at least record a statement from those MPs, but they are yet to do so, which naturally raises suspicions among the public.”
However, Weerawansa said the No-Confidence Motion was not against one particular community or religion but against extremism and terrorism.
A committee will be appointed by the JO to find long-term solutions to eradicate terrorism and extremism in the country. The committee will consist of JO MPs and will prepare a draft that will be implemented in a future Government.
“The Committee will focus on population control, bringing a unified marriage law, prevent schools and universities teaching syllabuses that are not approved by the government.”
However, Weerawansa did not provide details on what grounds they would control the population, or whether it would target one community.
Speaking to media, MP Keheliya Rambukwella said the Opposition has reasons to believe that political motive was behind recent mob attacks, which targeted Muslim business establishments in several areas in the country.
He claimed the Government had used mob attacks to divert the attention of the public from the Easter Sunday attacks. “Considering recent statements made by Minister Mangala Samaraweera, we have reasons to believe that this was an attempt to gain cheap political advantages, and create a platform for those Muslim MPs that allegations have been levelled against to come out,” he claimed.
However, Rambukwella was unable to provide conclusive evidence to prove his claims that the Government had involvement in the recent mob attacks.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), issuing a statement, said National Organiser of the party Basil Rajapaksa had not expressed any views against bringing a No-Confidence Motion against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.
“During the JO meeting, the topic was raised but Rajapaksa had not expressed any views or hinted any objection against the decision to bring a No-Confidence Motion against the Minister,” said the statement.
Pix by Lasantha Kumara