Kiriella pooh-poohs rumours of SJB split

Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella, on Saturday, said that there was no split in the SJB, and the rumours being floated about the party were baseless.

In answer to a question raised by a journalist MP Kiriella said: “I assure you that there is no truth in the story doing the rounds that the SJB is divided. We, under the leadership of the Opposition Leader, are forging ahead as a united force. We are a new party and it is owing to the people’s trust in the Opposition Leader we won 52 seats. Sajith Premadasa, as the son of former President Ranasinghe Premadasa, would look after the interests of the down-trodden sections of society. People know that.”

MP Kiriella said that SJB and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa had met a delegation from the EU visiting the country and requested it not to deprive Sri Lanka of the GSP plus concessions. “Yet our leader asked the EU to urge the government to uphold democracy and the rule of law. We asked the EU to urge the government to respect human rights and civil rights of the people. Many people are being held under detention orders. Many trade union leaders and journalists have been harassed. We asked the EU to urge the government but not to deprive the country of GSP plus concession,” he said.

MP Kiriella said that while the EU experts were in the country the CID summoned journalists who had exposed the garlic scam. “The EU has a clear idea of suppression of journalists and they witnessed the way the CID is being used as a coercive means to harass journalists who do not toe the government line. Besides the incident of a minister visiting Anuradhapura and Welikada prisons to threaten inmates too received wide publicity while the EU delegation was in the country. They took notice of such instances,” the MP said.

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