UNP blames PA for blast
[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 December 1999, 13:59 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party (UNP) today blamed the ruling People's Alliance for the bomb blast which killed Maj.Gen. Lucky Algama (ret) and 11 others at the UNP campaign meeting at Ja-Ela north of Colombo last night.
Addressing a press conference late this afternoon at the Colombo Mayor's residence, UNP general secretary Gamini Athukorala and party chairman Karu Jayasuriya also unreservedly condemned the suicide bomb attack on the PA's election rally, but said it would not adversely affect their chances at the Presidential polls on Tuesday.
They said that the UNP is quite confident of a victory on December 21.
The UNP leaders told the press that they couldn’t at this juncture say who was responsible for the bomb attack at the PA's election rally last night in which the President sustained minor injuries and 24 people were killed and 140 were wounded.
The blast at the UNP meeting killed 11 people and wounded 40.
They said that they wished a speedy recovery for the President who was slightly wounded near the eye in last night's blast.
According to the UNP leaders, they would demand an investigation by officers from Scotland Yard into yesterday's bomb attacks if the party did not see any progress in the inquiries regarding these incidents.
Mr.Karu Jayasuriya said that the UNP is prepared to bow to the people's verdict at the presidential polls.
The two UNP leaders called on the PA campaigners not to abuse the state media to their advantage against the provisions of the elections law.
The two leaders issued a joint statement today.
" We fully sympathize with the President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge and wish her a speedy recovery," the statement states.
The statement further states that the attack on the President is a severe indictment on the Presidential Security Division. “During the last few weeks the PSD was deployed to attack and intimidate the UNP supporters. On this day the PSD failed in their duty to protect the President.”
" We have repeatedly appealed to the Government and PA supporters to desist from violence of this nature so that this important Presidential Election can be conducted in an atmosphere free of fear and intimidation.”
“It is unfortunate to note that the Government and PA supporters are, in the face of an imminent defeat, shamelessly making use of this incident to unleash violence on UNP supporters and prevent the holding of a free and fair election.”
“This has been their intention at all times, and they are now planning to go on a rampage.”
“While we are appealing to all our supporters to maintain calm in the face of all manner of provocation. We are going ahead with our campaign undeterred and will help the people to come and vote at this crucial Presidential Election which will change the destiny of our beloved country.”
“We once again ask the Forces and particularly the Police to take stern action against all those who break law and disrupt the democratic process.”
“We have confidence in the Public Service, that they will conduct this election in a just and fair manner without yielding to pressure from those in power,” the statement concludes.