Opposition Leader lambasts Speaker

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Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday in Parliament accused Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena of lying through his teeth and called the Chair a ‘liar’. This was when the latter allegedly backtracked on claims about President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s willingness to resign from the presidency.

Opposition Leader Premadasa said the Speaker had informed the Party leaders’ meeting that President Rajapaksa was willing to resign if all the party leaders demanded that. “Now we all are ready to submit that suggestion. We all demand that the President should resign immediately,” the Opposition Leader said.

Speaker Abeywardena denied informing party leaders that President Rajapaksa was ready to resign if the leaders of political parties requested him to do so.  “There are social media posts that I informed party leaders of the President’s willingness to resign if they make a request,” he said.

Opposition Leader: The Speaker informed party leaders of the President’s willingness to resign. I am not a fool to distort what you said. Don’t deny your statement. You are a Tom Pachaya (blatant liar).”

Speaker Abeywardena: It is you who are coming up with Tom pacha (blatant lies). I only said the President is ready to hand over the Government to anyone who commands a majority.

Chief Opposition Whip Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella confirmed that the Speaker did say so.

Speaking on the Rambukkana shooting incident, the Opposition Leader said that an independent inquiry should be conducted by several retired Supreme Court judges into the incident.

We do not think an investigation by the police would yield the truth. We have experience of such investigation results. We know how the Welikada shooting incident was investigated. Now it is being reported that the Government got its henchmen to set a bus on fire at the Pengiriwatte protests. We as a party will accept responsibility to look after the family of the person who was killed in the police shooting in Rambukkana.

“This is a government which kills people. We condemn the attempts by Minister Prasanna Ranatunga to mislead this House with lies in his statement on the Rambukkana incident. The person who had been killed, KD Chaminda Lakshan was a resident of Narambedda, Hiriwatunna in Rambukkana. He is father of two children. He was an unarmed protester who was participating in a protest. It is his constitutional right. He has a right to do his politics and he has the freedom of expression. He has a right to protest. The Government should take full responsibility for the killing of an innocent man.

“Instructions issued to the Security Forces are to use minimum force. Could shooting to kill be defined as ‘using minimum force’? Could using live rounds be described as ‘using minimum force’? We demand to know the name of the ASP who issued orders to shoot protesters,” he queried.  

By Gagani Weerakoon