ECONOMYNEXT- Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran says if any harm comes to him Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara should be held personally responsible as there are multiple threats to his life and his STF guards have been withdrawn.
Sumanthiran’s statement came after Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa raised the issue in Parliament requesting Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene to intervene in the matter of the withdrawal of Special Task Force security personnel for the TNA MP.
The STF guards were pulled out last week after Sumanthiran attended a rally in Polikandy on the Northern Peninsula at the end of the P2P march by Tamil and Muslim Civil Society activists staged a rally there.
Replying to the Opposition Leader Weerasekara said that he removed the STF personnel from Sumanthiran’s security as he participated in a rally disobeying police and Court orders explicitly not to do so.
“When a person participates in a rally disobeying the police orders, police security cannot be given to such person and if he has such threats to his life he shouldn’t have gone to a place where 2000-2500 people are around,” he added.
Moreover, he said that If nothing happened to him even after going to such a place that means there is no such threat to him.
“That’s why the STF was removed, as previously I have privately informed him that there are threats to his life and he should act to look after his security,” Weerasekara said.
He said that it is a joke to give security to a person who goes to places disobeying police and court orders
However, Premadasa said that Sri Lanka is not a country governed by an authoritarian regime and there is parliamentary democracy and freedom of expression to gather and go to rallies.
“When we also tried to demonstrate in a silent protest in Tanamalwila, a court order was issued, what kind shameful act is that,” he asked.
He also added that not only Sumanthiran but every citizen in Sri Lanka has the freedom to go on a peaceful protest because that is their democratic right.
Moreover, he said that it is another matter to take legal action against Sumanthiran if he has broken some law but it is wrong to remove his security based on what was said by the Minister.
Weerasekara said that the STF officers were not removed from the MP as a revengeful act.
“ I am not ready to make the police, army and the STF under me a cowardly force as long as I’m their head,” Weerasekara said.
He said that Sumanthiran a few months ago commemorated a terrorist killed by the army, in a room while the STF was outside providing him security.
“At that moment we thought of removing the STF, then I personally informed him that we will keep his security as he has threats to his life,” he added.
Also, joining the debate Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka said that the court order was issued against the P2P rally based on the quarantine regulations.
“So it does not balance out removing the security of an MP because he violated quarantine regulations,” he added.
He also said that the government is providing security to Karuna Amman and Pillayan, who murdered police and army officers.
“You have given security to terrorists, it is a shame for the army personnel to provide security to them, Sumanthiran always spoke against terrorists and stood against them so we don’t believe that you removed his security based on one incident,” Fonseka said.
Sumanthiran responding to Minister Weerasekara said that no court order issued against the protest had mentioned his name.
“There is no court order against me, therefore I have not violated any single court order,” he said
But he added that even if he did have a court order against him, it is not a reason to remove the special security accorded to me on the account of threat assessment done by the state.
Further, he said that about a month ago, Minister Weerasekara met me at the Parliament lobby and informed him that threats against him still exist and to be careful.
He said that based on that his security was increased and an additional contingent of STF was provided to him.
Moreover, he said that there three to four cases pending in courts about attempts on his life and in one case under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) four were indicted for attempting on his life.
He also said that more than 30 people are in remand for attempts on my life, “I didn’t know that I was that important. But this is what the state has done I have not made a single complaint,” he added.
“What is there to give pardon? I don’t need to be given a pardon by anybody, I have not done anything wrong, if there is a threat to my life and you yourself have said, then it is incumbent on the state to provide that special security which you deemed necessary. How I behave is of no relevance to the matter of granting of security to me. If anything is to happen to me Sarath Weerasekara should be held personally responsible,” Sumanthiran said.
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe