Speaker says he was not in Chamber
By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake
Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday (3) pledged that he will look into the alleged verbal sexual harassment faced by SJB MP Thalatha Atukorale during the No-Confidence Motion against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila.
Participating in the Adjournment Debate on the Central Bank Annual Report 2020, SJB MP Rohini Kaviratne said while the NCM debate was proceeding some Ministers and Government MPs hurled some derogatory words at Atukorale, which were sexually implicit. “This is a verbal sexual harassment against a female MP in this Chamber.
The female representation in Sri Lankan politics remains very low and this is a reason for that. The saddest thing is, you (the Speaker) were here when some ministers and MPs did that. You did nothing but left the floor for them to continue their abuse while laughing,” she stressed. The Speaker said that he would look into the matter. However, later in the day, the Speaker denied that he was in the Chamber when the alleged incident took place. In a statement, the Speaker said he had no involvement with the incident.
"This could have been easily verified by going through videos and Hansard on that particular day. It is sad that MP Kaviratne made this misleading statement without doing so," the Speaker said.