Uproar in the House interrupts proceedings

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Parliament proceedings were briefly suspended on 20 April due to an uproar by the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) over the Rambukkana shooting incident.

SJB MPs staged a protest in the Chamber hoisting placards with various slogans. They came to the House wearing stickers saying ‘No to bloodshed’.

When the Chief Government Whip and Public Security Minister got up to make a statement on the incident, SJB MPs shouted him down. Minister Ranatunga was seen continuing his speech despite the protests. SJB MPs shouted slogans alleging the Government leadership of being murderers and that they have killed people in Rambukkana.

Minister Ranatunga said the Rambukkana protesters tried to set a bowser containing 33,000 litres of fuel on fire.

“If not for the Police action to disperse them using minimum force and the protesters succeeding in their objective of setting the bowser on fire, there would not have been a place called Rambukkana today”.

The Minister said the Government has requested the Human Rights Commission to conduct an impartial and independent inquiry into the incidents at Rambukkana on 19 April.

The SJB MPs shouted ‘murderers’ at Government MPs who retaliated by hurling verbal abuse at Opposition MPs. At times they resorted to unparliamentarily language. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was also in the Chamber at the time.

After Minister Ranatunga’s speech, Opposition Leader, Sajith Premadasa spoke and Government MPs attempted to disrupt him.

UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told the House that there was no point in MPs shouting at each other because it will not bring out anything meaningful to help solve the prevailing crises. “These MPs should first focus on why we are here at this moment and give priority to finding means to lead the nation out of the crisis,” the former Prime Minister said.

By Gagani Weerakoon