Fonseka seeks more balanced view on counterterrorism law

Wednesday, 24 October 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Says as much as UNP no longer has a D.S. the SLFP does not have an S.W.R.D.

By Nuwan Senarathna 

Former Army Commander and Wildlife Minister Sarath Fonseka yesterday sought to strike a balanced note on counterterrorism legislation, noting that people engaged in anti-State activities should not be compensated but others may be deserving of help if they had been victimised during the conflict.  

Responding to questions about whether he agreed with compensating former members of the LTTE, Fonseka said that he believed if anyone had engaged in anti-state activities they should not be compensated but this rule could not be applied to everyone. 

“The LTTE is a terrorist group which acted against the State. According to the Constitution of Sri Lanka that is a punishable offence and therefore we cannot implement a mechanism to compensate members of such a group.” 

He asserted that he does not approve of any mechanism which compensates a terrorist organisation or any group which has acted against the State. However, he also went on to say that those who were not engaged in any anti-state activities had the right to gain compensation. 

“If a member of the armed forces gets injured or killed in action that person gets compensation but I do not agree that such a measure should be available to a member of a terrorist group. But if a person did not behave in a manner which was detrimental to the State or against the Constitution that person could be eligible to some form of assistance.”  

The quality and the outlook of politicians as well as political parties has changed over time, Minister Fonseka asserted, referring to President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent remarks that there were no longer politicians of the calibre of former prime minister D.S. Senanayake within the ranks of the United National Party (UNP). 

President Sirisena stated on Monday that after he formed an alliance with the UNP in November 2014 he realised that the party did not possess politicians of the same quality as its founder Senanayake.

Speaking to reporters during a press conference at the UNP headquarters of Sirikotha, Minister Fonseka said that the politics practised by Senanayake could not be implemented in the current political landscape. 

“If someone practised Senanayake’s politics today that person would be seen as an idiot by everyone.” he added.

He pointed out that the leadership of the UNP had changed over time and the party was led by different people from different backgrounds and some were from elite families while others were from common families, but despite these differences all of them guided the party to the best of their abilities.

“As much as the UNP doesn’t have people like D.S. Senanayake, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) also doesn’t have people like S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike.”

Pic Shehan Gunasekara