New ministry for Pillay’s benefit, says Karu 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013 00:48 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The police were removed from the under the Ministry of Defence and placed under the newly formed Ministry of Law and Order for the benefit of visiting UN Envoy Navanethem Pillay, the UNP charged yesterday. UNP Gampaha District MP Karu Jayasuriya said the decision had been made on the eve of Pillay’s arrival in the country. “By the this time, the Government had responded to the people of Rathupaswela who asked for drinking water with bullets and three people were killed.  Along with this incident, the Government inherits a history of killing five people who were engaged in protests, by shooting unarmed civilians, either by the police or armed forces,” Jayasuriya said in a media release. He said that while the Government said a third party was involved in the Rathupaswela shooting, the brother of slain FTZ worker Roshan Chanaka had told the media during the Rathupaswela violence that so far no one had been prosecuted for the murder. Chanaka was shot while engaging in a protest against a proposed State enforced pension scheme for the private sector in 2011. “An Independent Police Commission and other independent commissions were introduced by the 17th Amendment.  It was intended to depoliticise and remove political influence from the public administration by bringing in the 17th Amendment. If there were any deficiencies in the 17th Amendment, the Government should have taken action to rectify those deficiencies instead of introducing the 18th Amendment and annihilating the 17th Amendment. “Although proposals have been prepared by the select committee headed by Hon. D.E.W. Gunasekera, which was appointed to look into the deficiencies and to strengthen the 17th Amendment, the attention of the President has not been drawn to these proposals,” Jayasuriya’s statement said. He said that although the international community accused the Government of failure to protect human rights, the Government had continued “the same attitude”. “The Government underestimated the proposals made to offer advisory services internationally and showed the public that the international community is against the Government which won the war,” he charged. The incidents at Katunayake, Chilaw, Rathupaswela and the Welikada prison recently indicate that the ruling Government was prepared to subdue post-war Sri Lanka with bullets, Jayasuriya said. “To cover up this notorious past, the Government brought the police under the newly formed Ministry of Law and Order on the eve of the visit of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay,” he said. “This is similar to the act of an ostrich hiding its head in the sand to cover itself from the eyes of the outside world.  We wish to stress that if the Government is genuinely keen to protect law and order, what should be done is to re-enforce the 17th Amendment and release the whole of the State machinery including the police, public service and the Judiciary from the grips of the political vice. Also, we wish to urge the Government that justice would not be fulfilled only by bringing the police under a separate officer, whilst keeping the Attorney General’s Department under the President.” (DB)