ECONOMYNEXT – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is vowing to punish those who are responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks and the Bonds Scam.
In his Independence Day address this morning February 4, he said he has “advised the Attorney General’s Department to swiftly act upon matters that have caused great concern to the public, such as the Easter Sunday Attacks and the Central Bank scam.”
He added that reforms required to prevent attacks such as the Easter Sunday blasts will be carried out.
“I have now received the final report of the Presidential Commission appointed to inquire into the Easter Sunday Attacks. I have already given instructions to implement its recommendations,” he said in the nationally televised address from Independence Square in Colombo.
“Simultaneously, taking into account the recommendations of the previous Parliament’s Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security, action will be taken against all parties involved in this tragedy. We will not allow those responsible for designing and enabling this tragedy to escape justice. We will never allow extremism to raise its head again, in this country” the President said.
The ceremony itself was smaller than usual with a shorter parade and the guest list cut by half.
The main elements of the celebration, however, remained with the Armed Forces and Police march-past the Air Force fly by, a 21-gun salute and cultural displays.
In his speech, the President alluded in part to criticism coming at Sri Lanka from international commentators as well as Human Rights organisations.
He said he is a Sinhala Buddhist leader but he governs Sri Lanka within the Buddhist philosophic tradition “of peaceful coexistence which gives due respect to all religions and ethnicities, every person in this country irrespective of his or her ethnic or religious identification has the right to enjoy the freedom as equals under the nation’s legal framework.”
He accused “traitorous elements” of banding together “to marshal domestic and foreign forces against the leadership that upholds the indigenous way of life and the country’s sovereignty. Such elements mislead the public through false propaganda in a subtle way. I request the people of our nation to always think critically before acting. If people make assessments based on facts and take decisions only after finding out the truth, no one will be able to mislead the public,” he said.
President Rajapaksa also expressed confidence about the Covid 19 vaccination program that is on-going.
“Several countries have by now successfully developed vaccines for the COVID-19 virus. I have requested the leaders of India, China and Russia to support Sri Lanka to swiftly obtain these vaccines,” he said.
“This matter has also been discussed with the World Health Organization. Accordingly, we have obtained one vaccine and have already started our vaccination programme. This vaccination programme will be carried out without any disruption” he added.
At a time when the entire world is in crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our country has had to face many challenges. For more than a year, the pandemic has posed serious obstacles to carrying out the development activities and for people of our country to lead a normal life, the President said. (Colombo, February 4, 2021)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana