ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka government, taking a U-turn from its original stance, said it will delay the tabling of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) to the parliament until broader consensus is reached, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told the parliament.
His statement comes amid increasing local and international resistance to the proposed ATA because of some vague language in defining terrorism and speculation of ATA being used against anti-government protestors and dissidents.
The Justice Minister’s statement also comes after Sri Lanka’s influential Buddhist monks urged Ranil Wickremesinghe to have broad discussions over the ATA before passing it in the parliament.
“A lot of discussions are there now saying that we are going to bring the Anti Terrorism Act to suppress the general public and use it when the general public go against us when we implement the IMF conditions,” Rajapakshe told the parliament.
“We are not going to present any act to this parliament that will harm the general public of this country. Many stakeholders ask for more time to review it. We have given more time for everyone to write to us about what they need or they can come to us and discuss it,” he said.
“We have given more time now. We do not want to rush anything. Only after doing all the amendments, we will present it to the parliament.” (Colombo/April 28/2023)