Anura slams JO’s ‘patriotism’ in fiery speech

Thursday, 2 November 2017 00:23 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The current debate on new constitutional proposals is not one between patriots and traitors, but a battle of wills between democrats and autocrats, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said as he delivered a firebrand speech at the Constitutional Assembly yesterday. 

“Those who oppose this new Constitution call themselves patriots after they spent years robbing the country blind, abusing public resources and murdering dissidents,” Dissanayake charged, taking the pro-Rajapaksa Joint Opposition head on in his speech. “Patriots dedicate themselves to democracy and human rights. Patriots protect and preserve public property. Patriots uphold the right to freedom of expression,” the JVP Leader elaborated. 

“This debate is about democracy,” he asserted. 

The Joint Opposition’s patriotism was all about regaining political power, Dissanayake charged.  Railing against moves to retain the executive presidency, Dissanayake insisted that the presidency has no power to stop wars and guarantee safety. The authoritarian system had exacerbated the conflict and even protected perpetrators during the 1983 anti-Tamil riots, he claimed. “Executive power is how Gotabaya Rajapaksa created death squads. I don’t understand how anyone can defend this executive presidential system,” he charged. 

The only reason the 19th Amendment to the Constitution had been passed was because President Maithriapala Sirisena did not hold parliamentary power, the JVP Leader explained. Political power was concentrated in two different places today, which made it the perfect window for reform, he urged. “These two power bases will come together again at some point, and one party will hold power in both places,” Dissanayake warned. 

Urging the north and the south to refrain from taking extreme positions on the resolution to the national question, the JVP Leader said nationalism in the north and the south would only be defeated if the country achieved national unity. “Sinhalese nationalism will not defeat Tamil nationalism and vice versa,” he reiterated. (DB)