National Security Act to replace PTA

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By Thameenah Razeek

Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena said a new National Security Act will be drafted to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), and that the Cabinet has been informed about the new Act.

He said yesterday (23) at the weekly Cabinet media briefing that Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe is in the process of drafting the National Security Act.

Speaking further, he noted that the PTA has been in existence since the 1970s, and that a new Act is in the pipeline to weaken the PTA, and that the Cabinet has been informed about it. He said Minister Rajapakshe is working on it.

The Ministry of Defence approved a 90-day Detention Order (DO) under the PTA on Wasantha Mudalige, Convenor of the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF).

When asked if any investigation revealed that Mudalige was involved in terrorism, he highlighted that what they believe is that there is a coup underway to destabilise the Government, and the Security Forces have requested time to conduct investigations.

“It is not enough to have only 24 hours to reveal the information of conspiracies. That time span is insufficient to reveal accurate information, and the relevant time was given to the forces,” he said. Gunawardena said the recent arrests of protesters using the PTA had also been discussed in Cabinet.

According to the Constitution, people have complete freedom to form trade unions, picket, and protest peacefully, however, during the recent violence, 72 members of the public were systematically targeted and evicted from their homes.