Pandemonium in parliament, two monk MPs injured
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 08 June 2004, 07:46 GMT]
Pandemonium reigned in Sri Lanka's parliament Tuesday morning for about an hour when Venerable Akmeemana Thera, the newly nominated parliamentarian of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) was invited by the Speaker Mr.W.J.M.Lokkubandara to take oaths, parliamentary sources said.
In the melee a government parliamentarian removed mace of the Speaker. In the scuffle ensued in the well of the house two monk parliamentarians Ven Akmeemana Dayaratna Thera and Kolonnawae Sumangala Thera received injuries. Both were admitted to the Jayawardhanepur general hospital, sources said.
The parliament commenced its sitting Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. Three new parliamentarians were present in the parliament to take oaths. When the Speaker Mr.Lokkubandara invited Venerable Akmeemana Thera to take oaths, Minister and ruling party chief organiser Mr.Jayaraj Fernandopulle raised a point of order stating that the District Court of Colombo has issued interim injunction on Venerable Akmeemana Dayaratna Thera preventing him from taking oaths on a civil suit filed by Venerable Kataluwe Ratnaseeha Thera who earlier resigned from the post. Venerable Kataluwe Ratnaseeha Thera is one of the two dissident MPs of the JHU media sources said.
The Speaker in reply said that he had not received such a court order and he was not in a position to prevent the monk MP from taking oaths. Thereafter he invited the monk to take oaths. When the Sergeant-at-Arms was leading the new MP to the well of the house, ruling party parliamentarians blocked him from going to the podium. Immediately opposition parliamentarians rushed to the well of the house to provide security to Venerable Akmeemana Dayaratna Thera, sources said.
When several members of the government and opposition running amok in the well of the House shouting at each other, a parliamentarian removed the mace of the Speaker. Requests made by the Speaker to replace the mace fell on deaf ear, sources said.
Two other new parliamentarians nominated by the ruling UPFA though its national list Mr.H.R.Mithrapala and Ms Nirmala Kotelawala did not take oaths even after invited by the Speaker, sources said.
Thereafter the Speaker adjourned the parliament and invited party leaders for a meeting in his chamber to finalize the matter. The party leaders' meeting was in progress, sources said.