Extending an apology to the people of the North for the destruction of the Jaffna Library during the UNP regime in 1981, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe asked whether the Joint Opposition……was also willing to apologize for the things they did while in power.
Speaking on the third reading stage debate on Budget 2017 under expenditure heads of the Ministry of Prisons, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, the Prime Minister extended this apology for the gutting of the Jaffna Library, which is considered a turning point in the North-East conflict.
Joint Opposition MPs at this point heckled the Prime Minister who said the government had “given jobs to people in the North and restored industrial development there. By the time President Maithripala Sirisena marks his second anniversary in office we would have completed a massive amount of development work in the North. The Jaffna Library was burnt down when the UNP was in office and we are sorry that it happened. We apologize for it. Do you also apologize for the mistakes you committed?” he asked Joint Opposition MPs.
Premier Wickremesinghe made this apology when TNA Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan criticized Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation and Resettlement D.M. Swaminathan.
While acknowledging the differences between Minister Swaminathan and TNA legislators, PM Wickremesinghe invited them to settle things through dialogue.
Environmental and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday demanded the UNP not to put the blame of the LTTE crimes and the UNP’s wrong political decisions on the innocent Sinhala and Tamil People.
Referring to a statement made by the opposition that the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities were responsible for Jaffna Library arson, Black July incidents and other crimes etc. Minister Ranawaka emphatically stated that the innocent Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim people had no involvement in those incidents.
He emphasized that the Jaffna Library was set on fire during the UNP regime and it was not by innocent ordinary Sinhala people but by the UNP thugs transported in trains. On these grounds the innocent Sinhala people were not responsible for those crimes but the UNP.