Karu Jayasuriya assures action against people indicting violence in Parliament
Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Monday warned that he will come down hard on those responsible for violence inside the House on November 16 amid the ongoing political turmoil in the country.
"The speaker informed the party leaders that he had already called for a report on the ugly and illegal behaviour such as bringing in weapons to the chamber, chilli powder attacks, causing damage to public property, exchange of fisticuffs and other breaches of discipline," said a statement by the speaker.
On November 16, Sri Lanka's Parliament witnessed unprecedented violence as lawmakers threw furniture and chilli powder at each other.
The speaker refuted allegations that unauthorised persons had entered the public galleries on that day. Each parliamentarian had been allowed visitors and their details were provided to the House, he said.
Jayasuriya had called the police into the House as lawmakers were seen breaking furniture to attack the police while there were video images of some MPs carrying sharp objects and an MP was seen throwing chilli powder mixed with water at the policemen. The violence had left some lawmakers injured.
Political parties in Sri Lanka agreed on Monday to form a select committee to conduct parliamentary affairs amid a power struggle set off by President Maithripala Sirisena's controversial decision to remove Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister last month.
Jayasuriya said party leaders have been already told to name the members to the select committee and inform the secretary general of Parliament.
Parliament, which was convened on Monday for a third floor test against disputed prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, was adjourned just 10 minutes after its opening as lawmakers could not decide on the members of the committee.
The decision to form the select committee came a day after an all-party meeting called by Sirisena to resolve the political crisis ended inconclusively.
The crisis erupted when Sirisena suddenly announced on October 26 that he had sacked prime minister Wickremesinghe and installed ex-strongman Rajapaksa in his place.
Sirisena later dissolved Parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end, and ordered a snap election. But the Supreme Court last Tuesday overturned the president's decision to dissolve Parliament and halted preparations for snap polls set for January 5.
The select committee is to be appointed to carry out parliamentary business such as the appointment of other committees. There were counter arguments from both sides on the issue.
Jayasuriya has faced the wrath of the disputed government of Rajapaksa for his bold action to summon Parliament and request a floor test to prove the majority of Rajapaksa whose appointment has been dubbed as unconstitutional.
Ousted premier Wickremesinghe still maintains he is the lawful prime minister of the country.
Meanwhile, Wickremesinghe's United National Party moved a motion in Parliament against Rajapaksa's appointed secretary.
"He has no power to use public money as he had been illegally appointed. We want a debate on that," Ravi Karunanayake, a UNP legislator, said.
Jayasuriya said the motion would be taken up on November 29.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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