Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera
Three forces in all districts to maintain law and order
Govt. rejects call for removal of PTA and PSO
A week after the lifting of emergency regulations, the government yesterday issued a new proclamation under the Public Security Ordinance allowing for the deployment of the army, navy and air force in addition to the police for the maintenance of law and order in all districts of the country.
Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody read out the gazette notification issued by President Mahinda Rajapaksa under the Public Security Ordinance.
by President Mahinda Rajapaksa under the Public Security Ordinance.
United National Party MP Dayasiri Jayasekara took the government to task over the new proclamation and said in this context the lifting of emergency regulations was merely eyewash.
He said the government appeared to have withdrawn the state of emergency as a ploy to hoodwink the international community, which was mounting pressure on the government to strengthen the democratic machinery.
“Emergency regulations were imposed under the Public Security Ordinance. Now, they have been lifted and replaced with yet another regulation under the same law. This is unacceptable. Today, the government has brought a motion in the House thanking the President for the removal of the state of emergency. It is of no use if a similar regulation is being implemented,” Mr. Jayasekera said.
The deputy speaker, Chandima Weerakkodi who was presiding at the time said emergency regulations were imposed under the Chapter I and II of the Public Security Ordinance, but the new proclamation was being made under a difference section of the same law.
“There is no relevance between the two as a result. Emergency regulations were something different,” he said.
Mr. Jayasekara thanked the deputy speaker for clarifying the issue and asked him not to defend the government on such matters while presiding in parliament.
“There are government members who can respond. I hope you will do the duty of the deputy speaker while being in the chair,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government stressed that the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the Public Security Ordinance would not be scrapped at all although the opposition wanted them removed.
Joining in the debate, Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva said that those two pieces of legislations had been in use as part of the country’s legal system for a long time.
“They are part of the law of the country. We need them to prevent possible threats of terrorism in future and to ensure public security. Today, terrorism is no longer present on the surface. Yet, the embers of terrorism still linger under the ashes. What happened today in New Delhi is a classic example. The threat of terrorism remains in our region. We never expected such attacks in Delhi and Mumbai,” he said.
He added that laws similar to Sri Lanka’s PTA were in existence in the countries such as the USA and Malaysia too.
“In the USA, there is the Patriotism Act. If anyone is arrested under it, we will not know what will happen to him or her,” he said.
He charged that only those who wanted to support terrorism agitate for the scrapping of these two laws in Sri Lanka.#