Legislators trade blows in parliament

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 July 2002, 16:36 GMT]
Sri Lanka's parliamentary sitting was suspended Wednesday morning for about fifteen minutes when a group of ruling and opposition members exchanged blows in the well of the House. Pandemonium erupted when the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse, made a statement calling for an apology from, and the resignation of, Commerce Minister Mr. Ravi Karunanayake on the grounds that he had accused the President of carrying a bomb in her handbag.

The Leader of the House and Law Minister Mr. W. J. M. Loku Bandara rose to his feet to vehemently deny the allegation on behalf of Mr Karunanayake, who is on an official visit to Pakistan.

Thereafter a group of opposition members rose to their feet waving banners and shouting slogans.

The Speaker attempted to calm the opposition members and asked them to take their seats.

In the meantime the Finance Minister Mr. K. N. Choksy presented the Value Added Tax Bill to the parliament. When the Finance Minister was on his feet some opposition members rushed to the well of the House and attempted to remove the Mace from the Speaker's table. The Sergeant-at-Arms foiled it.

Thereafter about thirty ruling and opposition members exchanged blows in the well of the House The Speaker as a last resort suspended the sitting for about fifteen minutes.

Later the Speaker held a discussion with the leaders of the political parties represented in parliament in his chamber

Cabinet spokesman, Prof. G. L. Peiris, told a press conference later that the whole event appeared to have been planned and stage-managed.

anura_bribery-comm
President Kumaratunga's brother, former speaker of Sri Lanka's Parliament, Mr. Anura Bandaranaike, came two hours behind schedule on Wednesday to hand in the petition against UNF Minister Ravi Karunanayaka to officials at the Commission Inquiring into Bribery and Corruption in Colombo. (Photo: TamilNet)


Meanwhile, the People's Alliance kept up its campaign against Minister Ravi Karunanayaka by handing in a petition to Sri Lanka's Bribery Commission Wednesday, accusing him of defrauding the government of 50 million rupees on a rice import deal.

President Kumaratunga's brother, former speaker of Sri Lanka's Parliament, Mr. Anura Bandaranaike, came two hours behind schedule on Wednesday to hand in the petition against to officials at the Commission Inquiring into Bribery and Corruption in Colombo.

He was accompanied by PA parliamentarians, Reggie Ranatunga and Dilan Perera and other MPs.

 

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