Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs, and Constitutional Reforms, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said the President had granted his consent to a 90-day Detention Order (DO) for interrogation as per the PTA, against IUSF Convener Wasantha Mudalige, based on submissions made to him by the Security Forces. He said according to the Police, there has been a possible attempt to overthrow the Government, while impeding national security on the part of the IUSF Convener.
He said it was highly unjust to claim the country’s security apparatus was using the PTA to unnecessarily hound anti-Government elements and blatantly crush such sentiments.
The Minister emphasised the PTA could be utilised to protect the State if there are genuine or tangible threats to its existence and the maintenance of national security.
He explained it could also be used effectively to counter those engaged in acts of sedition, though its activation has been frowned upon by the international community. Dr. Rajapakshe insisted the IUSF Convener had been arrested by the Police, as a suspect on whom a warrant had been issued by Court and over the suspect’s failure to surrender to the Judiciary.
He added that he too will not condone the arbitrary use of the PTA, to victimise in any manner or form those opposed to the Government. But, he was quick to point out the security establishment in the country had sufficient evidence, to warrant the 90-day detention of the IUSF Convener for interrogation, as per the Provisions contained in the PTA.
The Minister further opined it would be pertinent to the country to decipher whether the assault of 22 Security Forces personnel and stealing of firearms, water cannons, and tear gas canisters in their possession by protesters, during anti-Government protests near Polduwa Junction last July, is part of peaceful protests or whether such actions fall under the category of sedition and possible moves to oust a legally elected regime.