The Lanka Academic

JULY 15, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 100

Headline Summary
F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
UNP MPs storm Lankan parliament
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 8.51 AM SLT Monday July 16, 2001. Members of Parliament (MPs) belonging to the opposition United National Party (UNP) stormed into the Sri Lankan parliament early this morning in protest against Speaker Anura Bandaranaike's decision not to challenge the prorogation of parliament by his sister,President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Mr.Mahinda Samarasinghe MP,said that about half of the party's 88 MPs had broken through the barriers outside the parliament complex and reached the main building by 8 am.The MPs planned to hold a protest meeting inside the complex.Paliament has the offices of the various political parties, and the UNP could legitimately enter and hold a meeting,it was argued.

The 115 member opposition,led by the UNP, had submitted a memorandum to the Speaker last week, urging him to disobey the prorogation and have the debate on the no-confidence motion as scheduled on July 16.UNP's legal expert Mr.K.N.Choksey had argued that the President's right to prorogue parliament should be read with the other provisions that she should be responsible to parliament and that the right to exercise discretion was not absolute.Her actions would have to be manifestly bonafide.In this case, she had prorogued the house even as the majority of the members of the house (115 out of 225) had signed a petition supporting the taking up of the motion of no-confidence on July 16.The prorogation was done to prevent a debate on the no-confidence motion in which defeat seemed certain,Mr.Choksey said.

However, on Sunday,the Speaker said in a written communication to the Leader of the opposition,Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe,that while the motives for the prorogation was questionable,he had no constitutional power to over rule it.It was the President's prerogative to prorogue the house.He also pointed out that as per Art.70 (4) of the Constitution,all the unfinished business prior to the prorogation of parliament could be taken up after the house meets at the lapse of prorogation on September 7.In other words,he said that there was no need to precipitate a President - Parliament confrontation when parliament could very well pick up the threads as regards the no-trust motion on September 7.
Published: Sun Jul 15 22:50:36 EDT 2001

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Police block MPs at Sri Lanka parliament
123india, july 16. Opposition legislators were locked out of Sri Lanka's parliament building Monday as Speaker Anura Bandaranaike refused to defy a Presidential decree suspending the assembly. Legislators from the opposition United National Party removed police barriers to move into the parliament compound but they were unable to get into the locked building, an opposition MP said."We have asked the secretary general to open the building and allow us in," opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said by mobile phone. More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 22:58:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Parliamentary speaker says he cannot summon parliament
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 2115 slt 15.07.01. Parliamentary speaker Anura Bandaranaike today informed Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe that he had no powers to summon parliament ignoring the two month prorogation by his sister President Chandrika Bandaranaike. Last week leaders of opposition political parties requested the Speaker to summon parliament tomorrow as schedules saying the prorogation while a no confidence motion was pending was illegal. Editor's Note Comments and feed back on the above article may be submitted by using the Letters to the Editor feature on the frontpage.
Published: Sun Jul 15 11:23:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Speaker stands by presidential sister in Sri Lanka political crisis
123india, july 15. Sri Lanka's Parliamentary Speaker Anura Bandaranaike refused Sunday to defy his sister, President Chandrika Kumaratunga, and allow an opposition bid to topple her government.Bandaranaike said he was not empowered to reconvene the assembly, which Kumaratunga has suspended for two months to avoid a no-trust vote her government was almost certain to lose.The announcement came as opposition legislators called a "civil disobedience" campaign against Kumaratunga's move and said they would still meet in the parliament building Monday as an act of defiance More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 12:46:05 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka speaker backs president on suspension  - MSNBC
Sri Lankan speaker rejects plea to summon prorogued Parliament  - Press Trust of India
Sri Lanka Parliament Speaker Decides Not to Reconvene Parliament  - Nothern Light
Sri Lanka speaker not to defy president  -

G. L. slams legality of referendum
Sunday Leader, 15 July . Constitutional Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris has informed President Chandrika Kumaratunga that the question framed by the government to be placed before the people at a referendum on a new constitution cannot be legally defended due to lack of clarity.Minister Peiris also told the president the results of the proposed referendum will have no legal validity due to the vagueness of the question posed and that constitutional law expert, President's Counsel H. L. de Silva was of the same opinion. The question posed by the government at the referendum scheduled for August 21 reads, "Are you in agreement with the proposal that the country needs a new constitution, which is nationally important and an essential requirement." More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 15:47:27 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Indian media lambasts Chandrika for suspending parliament
The Island, july 16. Leading Indian newspapers have lambasted Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga for suspending parliament, and have warned that, with parliament shut down, the battle for political supremacy in the war-ravaged island-nation may well shift to the streets. More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 23:06:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Student in mental hospital following attack by Ranatunga
south nexus, July 16. A student was admitted to a mental hospital after he began behaving strangely following an alleged attack by Sri Lanka's former Cricket Skipper Arjuna Ranatunga and his brother, an official said here. The 17-year-old was among six students who were alleged to have been assaulted by Arjuna Ranatunga and his brother on March 3, said Ashoka Vidyalaya's principal M D Gunadasa. Several students were hurt, with one sustaining head injuries. Gunadasa declined to provide the name of the student admitted to the mental hospital. He said, the boy had begun pretending to be a member of the Ranatunaga family and started threatening to assault people. More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 19:18:43 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Opposition Threatens To Impeach President-Kyodo
Yahoo Singapore, Sunday July 15, 9:15 PM. Sri Lankan opposition parties plan to impeach President Chandrika Kumaratunga over her suspension of parliament for two months, claiming the move was an abuse of power aimed at avoiding defeat in a planned no-confidence motion, according to opposition lawmakers, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported. Speaker Anura Bandaranaike, who is Kumaratunga's brother, has delayed a decision on the opposition demand, which he had earlier said would be made Saturday. The speaker has consulted leading constitutional lawyers and his ruling is expected to be "legalistic," a lawyer on his team who asked not to be named, told Kyodo. More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 11:25:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka opposition vows civil disobedience against president, Jul 15 2001 15:16 IST. Sri Lanka's opposition vowed Sunday to pursue a "civil disobedience" campaign to protest against President Chandrika Kumaratunga's suspension of parliament, ordered to avoid near certain defeat of her government. The opposition parties, representing a broad spectrum from the hard left to the ultra right, united Sunday to press for the reconvening of parliament, which Kumaratunga has suspended until September 7. More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 10:29:39 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Muslims, police clash in Sri Lanka town after shooting, Jul 15 2001 12:28 IST. Muslims staging a protest against the alleged killing of two students by police commandos battled with police in a Sri Lankan town on Sunday, local officials said. Police armoured personnel carriers (APCs) were used to remove barricades placed by residents in Kalmunai, 390 kilometres (240 miles) east of the capital, an official said. More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 10:32:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Strike at Sri Lanka Muslim town after police shooting  - 123india

Minister approves Cricket team without changes
south nexus, July 16. Sri Lanka's Sports Ministry approved the 15-man cricket team as named by the national selectors last week to play in the forthcoming one-day triangular series against India and New Zealand, despite its reservations over the omission of one player.The team: Sanath Jayasuriya (captain), Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardena, Russell Arnold, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Avishka Gunawardena, Kumar Sangakkara, Chamara Silva, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Zoysa, Dilhara Fernando, Suresh Perera, Kumar Dharmasena and Dulip Liyanage. More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 19:20:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Briton arrested in Sri Lanka on child-sex charges
MSNBC, july 15. Sri Lankan police said on Sunday they had arrested a British tourist on child sex charges. The 45-year-old man was taken into custody after he was found in the company of a boy during a raid on a hotel in the capital Colombo, said an officer of the Police Women and Children Bureau. Editor's Note Comments and feed back on the above article may be submitted by using the Letters to the Editor feature on the frontpage. More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 10:37:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan President suspends parliament to avoid no-confidence vote
WSWS, july 15. “Political campaigns have already been launched, either directly or couched in sophistry, but the fact is that the schism of vituperative politics is tearing the social fabric apart. The craving for office and the resultant almost karmic yearning to cling to powers, privileges and perks of power, have resulted in a demonic process in which political leaders are focused on grabbing power and retaining power and nothing else. To hell with governance, to hell with the economy and the war, it is the continued political existence of the legislators that matters More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 10:46:30 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika’s referendum plan runs into trouble
indiainfo, July 15. President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s plan for a referendum on August 21 to seek people's mandate for a new Constitution, may run into trouble after papers were filed in a court seeking to prohibit the Commissioner of Election (CE) from conducting the process.Sighting the CE and the Attorney General as respondents, the petition filed by Attorney Dharmadasa Gomez said that the President could not hold the referendum under the prevailing Constitution.The 1978 Constitution requires the President to place a Constitution Amendment Bill before Parliament and obtain two-third majority before calling for a referendum. More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 17:44:57 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka clears Ranatunga, De Silva of match-fixing charges
Yahoo Singapore, july 15. Sri Lanka's former Test skipper Arjuna Ranatunga and his deputy Aravinda de Silva were cleared of match-fixing charges due to "inadequate and untested" evidence, the investigator said.The cricketing duo were cleared after an eight-month investigation conducted by Desmond Fernando, a lawyer by profession and Sri Lanka's representative in the Code of Conduct Committee of the International Cricket Council (ICC). More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 11:40:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lankan duo cleared  - BBC South Asia

The Lanka Academic, July 15. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga seems to be favoring a Jovian modus operandi these days, delivering political thunderbolts on an alarming regularity. Whether they will reach their intended target or whether they will boomerang on the sender will only become evident with time. What cannot be in doubt is that with her conduct (her allies would call it inspired; the rest would call it, at best, irresponsible) she is wreaking havoc on the country, the economy and the lives of the people. More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 23:06:10 EDT 2001 Back to the top

One billion rupees for a vague question
Sunday Times , July 15. The August 21 referendum — described by critics as meaningless or non-binding — will cost at least Rs. 600 million in public funds and probably upto one billion rupees if transport, security and other costs are added. Elections Department officials said the estimate of Rs. 600 million was based on the amounts spent for the two national elections last year. More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 02:11:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Chandrika move 'abuse of power'
Gulf News, july 15. Sri Lanka's opposition appealed to the speaker of parliament yesterday to ignore a presidential order suspending the body, saying the move was an abuse of power. Representatives of opposition parties, trade unions and other organisations last evening decided to hold the protest on July 19. Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe explained to a gathering of about 300 members who represented unions and other organisations including the main union for doctors that the protest campaign was to demonstrate to the government that they were unhappy about the action taken.They have decided to appeal to the parents to keep their children away from schools, call government and private sector officers to stop work midway and join the protest in the capital. More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 17:49:42 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Ashish Nehra to prove lethal in Sri Lanka
NDTV/MSNBC, july 15. "Sri Lanka has batsmen friendly pitches, but you can be successful anywhere if you bowl a tight line and length. So I will try and do the same and perform better," said Ashish Nehra.Nehra was the most successful bowler from either side in Zimbabwe with 11 wickets in two Test matches. He still has a long way to go before he becomes a complete bowler, with his one-day performance not up to standard with just four wickets in four matches, despite bowling well More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 02:35:45 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Parliamentary speaker reported to have postponed announcing decision on summoning parliament
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1820 slt 14.07.01. Parliamentary speaker Anura Bandaranaike is reported have delayed announcing a decision on the request by leaders of opposition political parties to summon parliament as scheduled on July 16th, ignoring the prorogation for two months by President Kumaratunga. The request was made by party leaders yesterday where UNP's Constitutional Affairs expert K.N. Choksy gave a lengthy opinion on how such a summoning of parliament would not be illegal. end

Published: Sat Jul 14 08:43:21 EDT 2001 Back to the top

UNP angered by secret meeting between opposition leader and the President
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1816 slt 14.07.01. Members of the UNP's parliamentary group have questioned party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as to what transpired at a secret meeting he held with President Kumaratunga on 4th of July, the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation announced today. It said the UNP leader faced criticism from some M.P.s for having the meeting. SLBC said that at the secret meeting the UNP leader told the President that he would join the government with 41 other UNP members of parliament if he is made the Prime Minister.
Published: Sat Jul 14 08:43:20 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Old wine in new bottle in Lanka?
chennaionline, July 14. Sri Lanka's political history is in turmoil again, and for the third time in three decades, its leadership thinks a new Constitution would help overcome a national crisis. President Chandrika Kumaratunga is invoking the very provisions of the existing 1978 Constitution that she abhors to pave the way for what she believes would be a new deal for her people. More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 14:19:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Opposition to hold first demonstration in Colombo this week
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1145 slt 14.07.01. Opposition parties led by the UNP is to hold a demonstration in Colombo on July 19th demanding the resummoning of parliament. Assistant leader of the UNP Gamini Athukorala appealing to all those who oppose the prorogations of parliament to join the protest, said that he was expecting large crowds to take part in the protest. end
Published: Sat Jul 14 02:07:19 EDT 2001 Back to the top

LTTE kills 3 soldiers: Lankan army
The Hindustan Times, july 14. THREE SOLDIERS and an LTTE militant have been killed in eastern Sri Lanka, as the rebels stepped up attacks on security forces in the three districts, the defence ministry said on Saturday. The rebels activated a claymore mine on a security forces patrol engaged in clearing a road at Sittandy near Valachchenai in Batticaloa district, killing two soldiers and wounding two others, a military situation report said. More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 14:11:23 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Court challenge to Sri Lanka referendum, Jul 14 2001 12:58 IST. COLOMBO, July 14 (AFP) - Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga's plan to call a nation-wide referendum after shutting down parliament has been challenged in court, officials said Saturday. Papers were filed before the Court of Appeal Friday seeking an order prohibiting the election department going ahead with the referendum on the constitution, which Kumaratunga has ordered to take place on August 21, court officials said. More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 05:15:15 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Kiwis fight Colombo heat ahead of triangular series
Times of India (Breaking News), july 14. The New Zealand cricket team traveled from icy Christchurch to the tropical heat of Sri Lanka on Saturday, getting acclimatised four days ahead of a three-nation series.The Black Caps will meet host Sri Lanka in the first match. India is the third team in the tournament.Despite their late night arrival, at 1 am, Sri Lankans gave a warm welcome to the team, sweating in the 32 C (90 F) heat More...
Published: Sat Jul 14 14:12:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker to Give Ruling on Prorogation
People's Daily, Saturday, July 14, 2001, updated at 15:31(GMT. Sri Lanka 's Parliament Speaker Anura Bandaranaike is to give a ruling on Saturday on whether or not to summon parliament next Monday which was requested by opposition party members. The oppositions party members excluding the JVP or People's Liberation Front handed over a signed letter to Bandaranaike on Friday, requesting him to convene Parliament on Monday as scheduled. The letter says that the prorogation of Parliament ordered by President Chandrika Kumaratunga was to avoid debating of the no- confidence motion when majority of 115 members had requested in writing to debate on it on July 18. Parliament is entitled to examine the validity of the president's order under the constitution, it added. More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 00:44:40 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Media organisations call for police action to investigate attacks on journalists
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1510 slt 14.07.01. Media Organizations have expressed there protest over the lack of police investigations into a series of attacks on journalists. The protest comes in a joint media statement by the Free Media Movement, The Editors Guild and all news paper publishing houses other than the government owned Lake House.

"On July 15, 2001, we commemorate the second anniversary of the merciless attack on journalists legitimately covering an opposition protest demonstration, by the police specially members of the presidential security division (PSD). This attack led to the hospitalisation of journalists and extensive damage being caused to their professional equipment. It was one of the ugliest incidents in relation to oppression of press freedom in contemporary times.There is ample photographic and eyewitness evidence to indict those responsible for this savage attack. Yet, the government's official position is that on one hand it has been unable to identify those responsible and on the other of justifying the attack." the statement said.

The media organizations point out that the Police inquiry into the complaint filed by the journalists concerned at the Cinnamon Gardens and Slave Garden Police Stations against the assailants has been shelved.

"As we commemorate the second anniversary of this heinous crime against press freedom we express our deep concern at the delays in investigating a string of incidents of physical attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka including the murders of Thinamurusu editor Ramesh, Satana editor Rohana Kumara and Jaffna-based journalist Nimalarajan during the past two years. We reiterate that no attempt has been made to investigate any of the physical and psychological attacks carried out against media personnel Sri Lanka" the statement said.
Published: Sat Jul 14 14:02:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top

India head for Sri Lanka without Tendulkar
Times of India (Breaking News), 16 July 2001. India will be without Sachin Tendulkar and under heavy pressure to snap a three-year losing streak in one-day finals when they leave for Sri Lanka on Monday. The Indian team will be playing their second three-nation series in less than a month when they face New Zealand and hosts Sri Lanka in the tournament starting on Wednesday. More...
Published: Sun Jul 15 19:55:48 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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