Govt. dismisses Paada Yathra as “political gimmick”

Friday, 29 July 2016 00:07 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Government yesterday dismissed the Joint Opposition ‘Paada Yathra’ march as a “political gimmick” organised by “crooks” and emphasised it would in no way impact the historic coalition between the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).Untitled-1

Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake releasing a statement noted that the planned march from Kandy to Colombo would not undermine the historic partnership between the UNP and SLFP, led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Maithripala Sirisena respectively. 

“If at all, it is an effort to destroy the marriage that took place on 8 January 2015 between the people of this country and the idea of democracy,” he said. 

“As far as we are concerned this is nothing more than a political gimmick organised by a bunch of crooks. Their followers will realise soon enough that it is not about the nation or the people but an act of desperation on the part of a few individuals who are being prosecuted for multiple infringements of the law including financial crimes and murder,” the Minister added.

However, the Minister insisted that the protestors would not be hindered in their protest and recalled instances in the past where Opposition efforts were suppressed by the administration of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“In line with the promises we have made to the people of this country, we will continue to uphold the principles of democracy – in this case, the right to protest. In fact the Government will do its best to provide the maximum security possible to those who take part in this protest, meaningless though it is and misled though the protesters are.”

“Unlike during the previous regime, there won’t be hooligans and thugs disrupting this march. There won’t be baton-charging and there won’t be water-cannons.  There won’t be tear gas.” 

The statement went on to say the Government also encouraged participants and organisers to refrain from breaking the law. 

“Having said that, we would like to remind the organisers of this protest that a healthy democracy also includes the Rule of Law. No protest, however justifiable, warrants the breaking of the law. Just as much as we are mandated to uphold the principles of democracy, so too are we obliged to ensure that the Rule of Law is not compromised.”