Thajudeen murder case holds up Sri Lanka’s parliament

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s parliament was held up for over an hour as legislators went to blows following references to a suspect in the murder of rugby star Wasim Thajudeen and the children of former president Rajapaksa.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya expunged from the official record Hansard a reference to a suspect in the Thajudeen case. Opposition benches tried to shout down the government MP who made the reference.

Proceedings were brought to an abrupt halt after UNP MP  Mujibur Rahman was attacked by opposition MPs. After the proceedings were suspended, members of both sides gathered in the well of the House and began shouting at each other.

While it was unclear at whom the abuses were directed, it was clear that the Thajudeen case had touched a raw nerve within opposition ranks at a time when MP Namal Rajapaksa had just made a speech on the committee stage debate on the foreign ministry.

Rahman said opposition MP Johnston Fernando and two others threatened him with death if he spoke about the Thajudeen case.

“This is a very serious matter. If an MP does not have the freedom to raise any issue in parliament that is a serious breach of privilege,” Rahman said. “I have asked the Speaker to take action.”

Earlier, deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva had to correct the young Rajapaksa who misquoted from a speech of the deputy minister.

Rajapaksa was also interrupted by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera a couple of times to remind the former president’s eldest son how his father had promoted an LTTE leader as a vice president of the SLFP.

The ugly scenes in parliament were blacked out by the live telecast of proceedings. However, it is not the first time such things have happened in the assembly.

A JHU Buddhist monk MP, Kolonnawe Sri Sumangala, had to be hospitalised with a penile injury after being attacked by a group of SLFP MP’s led by Mervyn Silva in 2004. (Colombo/December 11 2015)





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