Sri Lankan Parliament adjourned till February 14
[TamilNet, Thursday, 02 February 2006, 07:54 GMT]
Sri Lankan parliament sessions were brought to an abrupt end Thursday morning following a bomb scare within the Chambers of the House. The drama began ealry Thursday when sniffing dogs stopped near one of the benches and started sniffing there. Security officials found a parcel with some gum on the carpet and the Government Analyst's Department was called into examine the substance. Sittings beagn around 9.55 am after a dealy of about 25 minutes but were ended within less than a minute by Speaker W.J.M.Lokubandara. However, the sittings were adjoured till February 14th, after Tamil National Alliance MPs walked to the Well of the House in protest against the abductions in the east.
The parliament resumed its sitting Thursday at 10 a.m. half an hour late of the scheduled time 9.30 a.m. as the Police informed the Speaker of a mystery parcel found on one of the seats allocated for a MP in the last row of the opposition benches during the routine security round, sources said.
Mr.W.M.J. Lokkubandara Speaker of the parliament soon after he took his seat in the podium Thursday morning at 10 a.m. informed parliamentarians of the adjournment of the sittings for two weeks for security reasons, parliamentary sources said.
Tamil parliamentarians in the House soon after the Speaker took his seat in the podium began their sathyagraha campaign in the well of the Chamber shouting slogans against killing and abduction of Tamil civilians. But the Speaker informed Tamil MPs to abandon their protest as he has decided to adjourn the parliament till February 14 due to security reasons as the Police had informed him of the detection of a mystery parcel on one of the seats in the opposition benches. However Tamil MPs continued their protest but the Speaker informed the House that he was adjourning the sitting till February 14 and left the podium. Parliamentarians were asked to leave the chamber for security reasons, parliamentary sources said.
Thereafter the officers of the Special Task Force (STF) of the Police, which is in charge of the security of the parliament immediately, began their search operation deploying sniffer dogs, parliamentary sources said.
However Tamil MPs'sources allege that it is a ploy by the government to avert another postponement of the parliament due to their sathyagraha campaign in the parliament in the name of security reason. The parliament did not conduct its normal business last month on 17,18 and 19th January due to Tamil MPs protest campaign in the chamber of the parliament, sources said.