JVP debates NE security, TNA stages walkout
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 23 October 2002, 14:53 GMT]
Members of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) staged a walk out in parliament Wednesday evening protesting at not being allocated time to speak on the adjournment motion moved by the Sinhala nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) censuring the United National Front (UNF) government for failing to provide security to the people of eastern province.
When JVP parliamentarian Mr.Sunil Handunetti moved the said adjournment motion, Mr.R.Sampanthan, leader of the TNA parliamentary group rose to a point of order stating that the JVP has not allocated time for the TNA parliamentarians to speak on the motion as the subject matter of the said motion had direct bearing on the people of the northeast province.
"As a party in the opposition the TNA should have been allocated time to participate in the debate on the JVP
adjournment motion. Earlier the JVP agreed to allocate time for us. But later they declined. The JVP has moved this adjournment regarding incidents that had taken place in the east. TNA has fifteen parliamentarians who represent northeast people. Therefore the TNA should have been allocated time by the leader of the opposition. We spoke to the leader of the opposition and the chief whip of the opposition. The JVP refusal to give TNA time is tantamount to showing disrespect to the northeast people. It shows the hypocrisy of the JVP."
When Mr.Sampanthan was on his feet JVP parliamentarians started to interrupt. Thereafter heated arguments ensued between the parliamentarians of TNA and JVP. At one-stage JVP members hurled accusations that TNA
parliamentarians are following the orders of the LTTE.
At this stage the chief whip of the ruling party Mr.Mahinda Samarasinghe offered ten minutes from the government time to the TNA parliamentarians to speak on the JVP adjournment motion.
But Mr.Sampanthan refused to accept the offer. He stated, " we are here as a part of the opposition. We are not begging for time to speak. We demand that we should be given time by the opposition leader to speak."
Following this seven TNA parliamentarians, Messrs Chandra Nehru, Mavai Senathirajah, N.Raviraj, G.G.Gajendrakumar, G.Krishnapillai and K.Thurairetnasingham led by Mr.R.Sampanthan walked out.
The debate on the adjournment motion continued without the TNA. Moving the motion JVP MP Mr.Sunil Handunetti said that government has failed to provide security to the peace of the east. Seconding the motion JVP parliamentarian Mr.Wimal
Weerawanse said the TNA has not been given time to participate in the debate, as it would have opposed the motion.
Tourism Minister Mr. Gamini Lokuge speaking on the motion said the JVP is once again trying to create unrest in the country. No responsible political party would support the JVP in its attempt to sabotage the peace process.