Home / TOP STORY/ Havoc in the House

Havoc in the House

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 17 November 2018 00:01


Pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa MP Johnston Fernando throws a chair at police creating a human shield to protect Speaker Karu Jayasuriya as he calls for a second vote on the no confidence motion in Parliament yesterday

– Pix by Upul Abayasekera  


MP Arundika Fernando gestures after occupying the Speaker’s Chair in Parliament yesterday 


  • Pandemonium amidst passing of second no confidence motion on MR
  • UPFA MPs launch all-out attack on police and Speaker, throw chili powder 
  • Several MPs and policemen receive minor injuries 
  • Unflappable Karu conducts sessions, calls vote, says motion passed before escorted by police
  • Parliament adjourned till Monday  


By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent

A second vote on the no confidence motion against MP Mahinda Rajapaksa passed yesterday with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya being forced to conduct the session from behind a human shield as Rajapaksa loyalists unleashed havoc in the House.  

Regardless of President Maithripala Sirisena’s promise to party leaders on Thursday night to allow the vote to pass uninterrupted, UPFA MP Arundika Fernando occupied the Speaker’s Chair with the support of his colleagues who were loyal to MP Rajapaksa by forcefully standing on the Secretaries’ Platform.

The House assembly was delayed for over 45 minutes due to angry legislators protesting, demanding the arrest of UNP MP Palitha Thewarapperuma, who was caught on camera with what appeared to be a knife in his hand on Wednesday. UPFA MPs Wimal Weerawansa, together with Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi and Dilan Perera, led the slogans also demanding the arrest of UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake for grabbing the object from MP Thewarapperuma and keeping it with him. 

“Palithaya pihi genawa” (Palitha brought knives), “Gon-Ranja pihi genawa” (Ranjan idiot brought knives), “Pihikaraya remand karau” (Remand the knifeman), “Karuwata enna kiyapiya, mewata uttara denna kiyapiya, berinam daala yanna kiyapiya” (Call Karu, demand answers, or if he can’t answer, resign), and “Oka tamai api kiwwe, mehema karala be kiwwe” (That is what we said, this is not going to work) were some of the slogans heard in Parliament with a few holding placards. 

Unable to take control of the House, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya was compelled to order the Parliament police unit into the Chamber to provide him the security required to commence the day’s business, which finally ended with violence, assault, bloodshed, and resentful behaviour of lawmakers in support of the Rajapaksa camp. Despite the UPFA lawmaker’s unruly behaviour, the UNP, JVP and the TNA lawmakers sat calmly, ignoring the insults aimed at them without getting involved.  Forming a human chain, the police officers managed to accompany Speaker Jayasuriya, with the Sergeant-at-Arms Narendra Fernando carrying the mace into the Chamber.

The mock sitting continued, demanding the arrest of MP Thewarapperuma and MP Ramanayake. This demand was met by hoots from the Opposition benches. In the meantime, MP Dilan Perera was seen insulting UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera with offensive language and the irate MP replied using similarly offensive words. 

Addressing the House, standing next to the Speaker’s Chair, UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa rejected accepting Speaker Jayasuriya while demanding to ensure safety of the lawmakers in the Parliament. “The Governments are elected by the people of this country and not by foreign countries. Let the people decide at a general election. I urge the Supreme Court to take the correct decision while thinking of the future stability of the country,” he said. Several representatives of foreign diplomatic missions were present in the gallery, witnessing the chaos. 

MPs Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi, Bandula Gunawardena and Mahindananda Aluthgamage also made speeches. UPFA MP Prasanna Ranaweera was seen guarding the closed door behind the Speaker’s Chair used by the Speaker to enter the Chamber. MP Mahinda Rajapaksa, who made a brief appearance at the House, walked out of the chamber while his fellow MPs continued to protest.    

By that time, the UPFA MPs in protest had the official Chair of the Speaker removed from the Chamber. The first police officer who entered carried an extra chair for the Speaker and tried to move in the direction of the Speaker’s Chair. The furious UPFA MPs reacted violently at this point. MP Wimal Weerawansa grabbed the chair from the police officer and MP Johnston Fernando broke it into pieces before throwing the pieces back in the direction of the Speaker. Parliament staff and police held aloft cushion covers of the chairs to protect the Speaker, allowing him to commence the day’s business. At this point, the UPFA MPs threw thick bound books, chili powder mixed with water, and shoes in the direction of the Speaker and Police. 

JVP MP Vijitha Herath and several Parliament police personnel sustained injuries. MPs Vijitha Herath, Malik Samarawickrama and Gamini Jayawickrama Perera were also attacked with water mixed with chili powder. The books hit several Opposition MPs, including Malik Samarawickrama.

The Speaker then commenced the sittings officially and Standing Orders were suspended by majority vote. All Opposition MPs who were in their seats supported the Speaker to carry on the proceedings. The no confidence motion against MP Mahinda Rajapaksa was placed before the House again, after removing the first Clause as agreed at the meeting with President Sirisena. The Speaker asked all MPs to go for a vote by name, but since the UPFA MPs ignored him, he took a voice vote. All Opposition MPs stood up from their seats, raised their hands and said “aye”. The Speaker then announced to the House that “the Ayes have it”, and the motion was carried while the UNF MPs cheered and applauded. The Speaker then adjourned the session till 19 November.  

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

An executive presidency and a technocratic Cabinet accountable to Parliament

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Basil Rajapaksa of the winning party in the 2019 Presidential Election had said that the 19th Amendment (19A) has some good parts and some bad parts. The 19A indeed gives us much despite its flaws. However, the lack of a coherent architecture therein

Sibling wins, patriarch celebrates and minorities stunned

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Is there a more precious gift a family patriarch, who himself a former ruler, could expect to receive on his 74th birthday, than to see his own brother becoming the supreme head of the country he ruled? The victory of Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR

Air India over Colombo

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Amidst the busy politicking in November an unexpected appearance of quite a number of packets of air over the country and in particularly over Colombo caused some distractions and elicited few warnings of a different type. This is about the smog-la

Post-mortem on UNP defeat

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

I believe no post-mortems are necessary on the causes for defeat of the UNP candidate as the reasons were very clear seeing the bickering at the very first post-election meeting of the UNP hierarchy held earlier this week. Although at the election th

Columnists More