Heated exchange between ruling party and SJB MPs

A heated exchange of words took place in Parliament today between ruling party MPs and opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MPs on the Easter attacks and political victimization.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena had to suspend Parliament for 10 minutes when the situation got out of hand.

However, both sides continued to trade accusations against each other even after Parliament sittings resumed.

Earlier, Chief Opposition Whip MP Lakshman Kiriella requested the Speaker to permit the opposition to commence a debate on the political victimisation report tomorrow.

However, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena claimed that the Government had proposed the debate and hence, the Government should commence the debate scheduled for tomorrow and the day after.

SJB MP Rauf Hakeem thereafter condemned the Government for not following Parliament proceedings, and claimed the Government had hijacked the proposal put forward by the Opposition.

He further said the Government must adhere to Parliament proceedings.

Responding to MP Hakeem, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that the decision for the Government to commence the debate was taken during the party leaders meeting.

He pointed out that MP Hakeem and the Opposition Leader were part of the meeting, and to refrain from causing unwarranted issues in Parliament.

A tense situation thereafter ensued in Parliament with Government and opposition MPs engaging in heated exchanges over the matter.

Opposition MPs called on the Government to provide prominence to the PCoI report on the Easter Sunday attacks, similar to that given to the report on political victimization.

Parliament was then adjourned for 10 minutes due to the continuing tense situation.

Despite adjourning, both Government and Opposition MPs continued to clash in Parliament after the break over the Prime Minister’s Media Unit being allowed to take video footage of the House during the break.

Government MPs thereafter claimed that former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had also brought his Media Unit crew for Parliament proceedings during his tenure.

Both the Government and Opposition MPs continued to argue over the matter before the situation was brought under control. (Colombo Gazette)

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