SPEAKER INFORMS AG, PM TO HOLD INQUIRIES

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will hold inquiries on State Minister Vijayakala Maheshwaran’s statement in Jaffna over LTTE reorganising, Parliament was told yesterday.

Following the uproar in Parliament, the Speaker has written to the Attorney General to take appropriate legal action after investigating as to whether Maheshwaran with her statement had breached any provisions in the Constitution or existing laws.

Parliament heated up yesterday as Government and Opposition members strongly condemned Vijayakala Maheshwaran’s statement while urging tough action against her.

The Speaker said he would hold a disciplinary inquiry after perusing the video tapes related to the incident.

He said he has already called for reports on the incident and that he would meet the PM and discuss.

“Let me follow the required procedure and take appropriate decisions at a Party Leaders’ Meeting. I am not an authoritarian and I cannot rush through the process. This is a serious issue. The relevant Party has to take a decision,” he said.

Speaker Jayasuriya and Leader of the House and Minister Kiriella told the House that the Prime Minister informed that he would hold a special inquiry into the matter and take necessary steps.

The Speaker was forced to suspend and then abruptly adjourn the sittings around 2.25pm following a tense situation created by Joint Opposition members, who stormed into the well of the House, shouting slogans and hurling abuse at the chair.

The concerns on Maheshwaran’s statement were first raised by UNP MP S.M. Marikkar who questioned what the UNP and Government stances were over it. “Maheshwaran has made a traitorous statement that violates the Constitution.We condemn it,” he said.

Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, in his capacity as the UNP General Secretary, stated that the UNP completely rejects that statement, adding that he over the phone inquired from Maheshwaran over it. “She told me that it was a sudden remark out of her grief over the murder of a six-year old girl in Jaffna. For JO members who are shouting at her remark, I would like to remind that it was no different to the recent ‘Hilter’ remark,” he replied.

MP Marikkar at this point said that it was better to ask her come and obtain treatment at Angoda hospital meant for mental health if she was suffering from shock and grief rather than making such inappropriate remarks. “You can directly say it to Maheshwaran” replied Kariyawasam.

NFF Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa said Maheshwaran had openly violated the MPs’ oath by promoting terrorism. “She no longer has any right to represent this House” he added.

MP Dayasiri Jayasekara, who represents the ‘SLFP Group of 16’, called on tough action against her after holding a CID inquiry. “She should be banned from coming to Parliament. She was making statements supportive of divisions in the country,” he said. UNP MP Asoka Priyantha stated that they were of the opinion that Maheshwaran could not hold any position in the Government after making such a statement. “We have suffered immensely due to a brutal war. She should resign from her portfolio,” he noted.

The JO members together with MPs of the ‘SLFP 16 Group’ stormed into the well of the House at this point demanding immediate action by the Speaker against Maheshwaran. MP Weerawansa was leading the JO Group shouting slogans demanding the PM to come to the House and reply to the concerns raised.

The Speaker suspended sittings for 15 minutes amidst chaos. Despite the efforts by the Speaker to proceed on the day’s business, the JO continued their protest even after the House resumed forcing the Speaker to adjourn sittings till today.

PM Wickremesinghe was seen entering the Chamber at the same time Speaker Jayasuriya announced that the House was adjourned. Parliamentary officials told the Speaker that sittings cannot be resumed after the adjournment and that the Mace was already taken out. The PM had a brief discussion with his group before leaving the main Chamber.

Maheshwaran was not present in Parliament yesterday.

 

 

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