Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) said that the Counter Terrorism Bill, if enacted, would be repressive of all the institutions, the trade unions and the media.
SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris told the Daily Mirror that it was a bizarre piece of legislation seeking to terrorise all the institutions under the pretext of countering terrorism.
He said Section 3(c) of the Bill seeks to define any damage to the government properties and facilities as acts of terrorism. He said the present government event charged some protestors including a few MPs for causing damage to the tar on the road by burning an effigy during a protest in Hambantota.
“We know the government defines it. The protestors and some MPs were arrested and kept in custody. Now it is going to be defined as a terrorist act,” he said. Besides, he said causing obstruction to essential services would be defined as a terrorist act, and it was a move to repress trade unions. He said this is even more disastrous for the media because gathering confidential information and supplying it any other person committing such crimes would be deemed a terrorist act.
“This means confidentiality of sources ceases to exist,” he said. He said any person declining to give information before the magistrate in relation to such a case, would be referred to be remanded, an act in violation of the Constitution. Referring to the scheduled to the law, he said any arrest should be notified to the Human Rights Commission and the IGP. (Kelum Bandara)