Tense situation in Parliament over moves to arrest Harin

A tense situation arose in Parliament today after concerns were raised by the Opposition on attempts to arrest Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Harin Fernando over a statement made in connection to the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks.

Opposition Leader MP Sajith Premadasa informed Parliament that there was an attempt to arrest MP Fernando under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over statements he had made in Parliament.

A heated exchange then ensued between the ruling party and opposition MPs over the matter.

Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando assured the opposition that the Government and ruling party MPs had not requested for MP Fernando to be arrested over a statement made in Parliament.

He pointed out that MP Harin Fernando has been summoned by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for making contradictory statements in connection to the attacks.

Minister Johnston Fernando said MP Harin has been found to have made the contradicting statements while speaking to the CID on a previous occasion and later during a Parliament debate on the report on the Easter Sunday attacks.

A tense situation arose once again with both the opposition and Government MPs exchanging words over the statement.

MP Indika Anuruddha was later reported to have walked towards the opposition resulting in the Speaker calling on him multiple times to return to his seat.

General Secretary of the SJB, MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara told Parliament that MP Anuruddha’s actions was a clear threat to the opposition.

He questioned as to how opposition MPs could make a statement in Parliament without fear when there was evidence of such blatant threats inside Parliament.

MP Madduma Bandara called on the Speaker to assure that opposition MPs will not be penalized for making statements in Parliament.

He pointed out that MP Harin Fernando is being investigated for a statement made in Parliament during a scheduled debate on the Easter attacks. (Colombo Gazette)