By Saman Indrajith
Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala said that disruption of Parliament sessions by the Joint Opposition was an act of terrorism.
Addressing a press conference at his office in the Parliamentary Complex soon after the House was adjourned abruptly following a protest staged by MPs of the Joint Opposition, the Deputy Speaker said: The terrorists used to disrupt parliament by shooting and bombing. Today, the Joint Opposition disrupted the session. The objective of both of them was same. That makes them same and what they did today was an act of terrorism.
Sumathipala said accepting of the Joint Opposition as an independent group was an internal problem of the Opposition and they should sort it out within the Opposition. Asking the Speaker to sort it out had the objective of getting him to commit the mistake of dividing the UPFA. The Speaker had stated that he would not commit that sin.
“Parliament is neither the Lipton Circle nor the Fort Railway Station. It is not a place where one would resort to street fighting tactics,” the Deputy Speaker said, adding that it was against principles of democratic struggles.
He said many MPs had one foot in the government and the other in the Opposition. Their duplicity did not suit parliamentary democracy. There were some members who wished to be identified as independent MPs in Parliament, while the remaining SLFP members were of a different mindset. They held positions of SLFP organisers and the district development committees.
“An MP can stand up in Parliament and announce that he will act independently. That is a right of the MP. But, a group coming together and calling themselves independent without making a declaration officially is not acceptable.
Deputy Speaker Sumathipala said that the issue at hand was a result of an internal problem of the UPFA. He asked the MPs of the Joint Opposition to sort it out within the UPFA.