Long before Wimal Weerawansa or Karl Marx, Cromwell in Mid-17th Century called it a ‘den of….. ,’
“It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place [Parliament], which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice. Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government. Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage….,
Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?…you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance. Your country, therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.
I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place. Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!”
– Oliver Cromwell (1599 –1658) - English military and political leader’s address to British Parliamentarians on April 20, 1653.
Cromwell who was responsible for King Charles I’s death warrant in 1649 [Charles I was executed on January 30, 1649]; on April 20, 1653, gave notice to the Rump Parliament by force, setting up a short-lived assembly. He was invited by his fellow leaders to rule as Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland from December 16, 1653. He died in 1658 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. The Royalists who returned to power two years later, had his corpse dug up, hung in chains, and beheaded.
Wimal Weerawansa expressing his views at the launch of his book had stated recently that Parliament should be bombed if 76 MPs did not object to the Draft Bill on Constitution and that it brings to divide the country and needs to prevent a two thirds parliamentary mandate.
Various factions including Government and Opposition Parliamentarians have drawn their attention to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to the survival of Parliamentary democracy and the severe risk that has arisen to the lives of people’s representatives following the Weerawansa’s declaration that Parliament should be bombed. They have called on the Speaker not to take frivolously this threatening announcement made by him on Parliament as it is the ‘hub of the democratic system’. The Speaker has responded that he expected to take action after taking cognizance of it when the House meets again.
Why didn’t the Luftwaffe bomb Parliament when they had the opportunity?
The House of Commons was utterly demolished on May 11, 1941, and was rebuilt during the war, the House of Lords was damaged, and the Whips’ offices and Members’ Lobby both needed a good lick of paint afterwards.
Winston Churchill, writing to his son the next month; in June 1941, gives an estimation of quite horrendous the damage to the Chamber, ‘Our old House of Commons has been blown to smithereens. You never saw such a sight. The Huns obligingly chose a time when none of us was there. We were very fortunate it wasn’t during when Parliament was sitting or else our whole government would’ve been blown to bits.
Rebuilding House of Commons -
The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)
‘I beg to move, that a Select Committee be appointed to consider and report upon plans for the rebuilding of the House of Commons and upon such alterations as may be considered desirable while preserving all its essential features. On the night of May10, 1941, with one of the last bombs of the last serious raid, our House of Commons was destroyed by the violence of the enemy, and we have now to consider whether we should build it up again, and how, and when. …. I, naturally, would like to see it restored in all essentials to its old form, convenience and dignity. I believe that will be the opinion of the great majority of its Members. It is certainly the opinion of His Majesty’s Government and we propose to support this resolution to the best of our ability.’---Hansard Debates; October 28, 1943 (vol 393 cc 403 -73)
1987 Grenade Attack
The grenades bounced off the table at which President JR Jayawardene and Prime Minister R. Premadasa were sitting, and rolled away. The 1987 grenade attack in the Sri Lankan Parliament is an occurrence that stunned many and is still reflected upon today. Two grenades were used in the attack that took place on August 18, 1987, when a JVP assailant hurled them into a room where government Members were meeting.
A Member of Parliament and a senior public servant were killed by the blast, pandemonium reigned following the explosions. Some legislators thought they were under attack from all sides. They broke the thin plate glass overlooking the Parliament lawn using wooden chairs, and escaped from the room. They were immediately bundled into cars and driven away.
The Parliament was being prepared to convene since the signing of India/Sri Lanka accord in the previous month that was intended to end the war waged by the ethnic Tamil minority. Authorities believed that instead of running away after the incident, those guilty might have stayed on the sight and blended into the commotion. Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna was a banned organization. A Police investigation concluded that the attack was carried out by a member of the banned JVP, which was staging a revolt in the country at the time. Five JVP members were eventually prosecuted for the attack, but due to lack of evidence they were acquitted. It is believed the assault targeted President JR Jayawardene for his signing of the 1987Accord with India.
"Wimal Weerawansa stated recently that Parliament should be bombed if 76 MPs did not object to the Draft Bill on Constitution and that it brings to divide the country"
Matara District’s Keerthi Abeywickrama, MP had his face blown off due to the explosion, he died on the way to Hospital. Another official attached to the Parliament staff, died later of shrapnel wounds. National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali had a miraculous escape. 16 others were injured in the attack. PM R. Premadasa and Ministers Gamani Jayasuriya, Monty Jayawickrema, E.L.B. Hurulle and President JR Jayewardene escaped unhurt.
Investigators were trying to determine if the grenade attack had been made with the connivance of security guards or employees in the building. The police were interviewing security personnel and the ministerial security division at the Parliament, where one or two attackers were believed to have fired a few shots and thrown two hand grenades at President JR Jayewardene while some believed they targeted R. Premadasa, the PM.
Colombo has been hit by rioting and protests since the day of the signing of the accord. The incident widened shock, but there were no obvious repercussions in the capital or elsewhere in the country. The agitation has been by members of the Sinhalese ethnic majority, generally Buddhists. Patriotic People’s Movement a group affiliated to JVP claimed responsibility for the assault. They told BBC that it was seeking vengeance for JR’s ‘’betrayal’’ of Sinhalese/Buddhist interests in surrendering greater political autonomy to Tamil areas. They vehemently objected to the landing of 6,000 Indian Army troops as ‘peace-keeping forces’ in the North-East. The extremists saw the Indian presence as less an instrument to disarm the ethnic Tamils than an invasive force turned on establishing Indian dominance.
Grenade Attacker in Parliament—Chief Ministerial Candidate
The JVP has fielded the first accused in the August 18, 1987 parliament grenade attack case, Ranasinghe Randunu Mudiyanselage Ajith Kumara as its Chief Ministerial candidate for the Sabaragamuwa province. He was among five persons indicted on ten counts including conspiracy to commit the assassination of the then president, JR, and attempting to commit the murder of the then National Security Minister, Lalith Athulathmudali.
Ajith Kumara who was released from prison on August 6, 1993 was promoted a member of the JVP’s decision-making body— since then has been active in politics.
A terrorist attack on March 22, 2017 took place in London in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament. A 52-year-old Briton Khalid Masood was the attacker who drove a car along the south side of Westminster Bridge into the pedestrians on the pavement and Bridge Street, injuring over 50 people, four of them died instantly. After the car was crashed, Masood ran into New Palace Yard where he stabbed an unarmed police officer, later to be shot at and died at the scene. In retaliation for Western military action in Muslim countries in the Middle East, Masood reportedly said in a text message, that he was waging jihad.
Wimal does not deserve any leniency in this matter though he has provided the governing quarters something to delve on for the next fortnight or so. If he is seriously planning something then he must see that he himself as someone who deserves to be inside the chamber. The planners has to ensure that the rejected ones who occupy a seat on National list and helping with two-thirds are advised to avoid sittings during a calamity. We are not sure of the type of bomb Wimal has in mind, but he must go for an advanced weapon beyond ‘Hiroshima-Nagasaki’, for some of our ‘people’s representatives’ at Diyawanna possess the strength and endurance to withstand Nukes!