The Jathika Hela Urumaya yesterday said that a parliamentary disciplinary committee headed by Senior Minister, D. E. W. Gunasekera should investigate TNA leader, R. Sampanthan, MP, for expressing separatist sentiments at the 14th Annual ITAK convention in Batticaloa recently.
JHU National Organizer, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe told The Island that the government and the parliament should act decisively to discourage those propagating separatism, though the LTTE no longer retained a conventional fighting capability.
Warnasinghe said that the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi couldn’t be allowed to espouse ethnic divisions at the expense of national reconciliation.
Trincomalee District MP Sampathan is a member of the parliamentary committee on discipline, propriety and security. Other members of the committee are Messrs Karu Jayasuriya, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Rauff Hakeem, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and P. Dayaratne.
Warnasinghe warned that the failure on the part of the government to take up the issue with the TNA leader would encourage others to challenge the country’s unitary status.
Following receipt of a complaint, the CID was in the process of inquiring into MP Sampanthan’s statement. A CID officer yesterday visited The Island editorial to inquire in to the circumstances, under which the TNA leader’s statement was published in several installments. The CID is also expected to seek Speaker’s approval to record the MP’s statement.
MP Sampanthan told the ITAK convention that their expectation of a solution to the ethnic problem was based on a political structure outside that of a unitary government, in a united Sri Lanka in which Tamil people had all the powers of a government needed to live with self respect and self sufficiency. “We believe that only within such a structure of government can the Tamil people truly enjoy the right to internal self-determination that is their inalienable right,” he was quoted in a statement issued by the TNA media office as having said.
Warnasinghe pointed out that another TNA MP, Appathurai Vinayagamoorthy’s recent refusal to hoist the national flag at the inauguration of an official function in Jaffna highlighted the pathetic situation.
Responding to a query, the JHU official said that the parliamentary disciplinary committee should be responsible for the conduct of all parliamentarians, both in and outside parliament.
Political sources said that the disciplinary committee recently had a series of meetings with former Secretaries General of Parliament and former Speakers to explore ways and means of introducing a code of conduct. Sources revealed that the committee had watched video footage of some incidents in parliament.
The JHU National Organiser said that they welcomed the ongoing efforts to improve discipline among parliamentarians. Unfortunately there seemed to be absolutely no measures to prevent those promoting separatism in the wake of Sri Lanka’s victory over terrorism. The TNA was working overtime to provoke the majority community, the JHU alleged, faulting the government for not taking tangible action to defeat those promoting separatist sentiments.
By Shamindra Ferdinando