Verbal shoot out in P’ment over killing spree in North

Friday, 21 January 2011 02:53 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Parliament yesterday saw heated exchange from both the Opposition and the Government benches over the spate of killings in Jaffna recently.

Main Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that at least ten people have been killed in just eight days and there was a serious lapse of law and order endangering the lives of ordinary civilians in the North.

He said the government has done little to address the breakdown of law and order in Jaffna.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) blamed a coalition partner of the Government, for the rise in the crime rate in the North.

TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran yesterday moved the adjournment motion to debate the security situation in Jaffna when parliament sessions commenced at 1 pm.

Sumanthiran speaking during the debate has said there was a complete breakdown in law and order in Jaffna resulting in the increase in murders, kidnappings, extortion, and other crimes.

He has added that although a government minister had raised the issue about the Jaffna situation in parliament during the last session, the government has failed to respond to even the concerns raised by him.

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) parliamentarian Vijitha Herath said that the failure on the part of the government to address the incidents that have taken place in Jaffna would result in the country having to face repercussions at a later date.

Herath said that the people living in the North were even afraid to testify before the President’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) due to the fear of being threatened and harassed.

He said that although the LLRC was set up for the people who have witnessed the war to testify before it, they were afraid to do so.

Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne however claimed that UNP leader and the TNA has exaggerated incidents that have taken place in Jaffna.

Speaking during an adjournment debate on the security situation in Jaffna in parliament, Jayaratne said that only 16 incidents of violence have been reported between November last year and this month.

He has also compared the security situation in Jaffna to an elephant’s hair and said the government is in the process of uprooting that hair.

According to the Premier, the government was taking measures to address the situation in Jaffna.

“Such incidents are common in any society. We have arrested 3,000 persons who have engaged in acts of violence in recent months,” the Premier has said.