Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday asked the government to conduct an independent inquiry into the incidents that took place in and around UNP headquarters, Sirikotha, on Monday.
In a special statement in Parliament, Mr. Wickremesinghe made an open apology to the party and the people regarding Monday’s incident.
“I assured Parliament earlier that there would be no change in the opposition leader’s post. I can reassure it today,” he said amid applause by government members including Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
However, he said though he was able to retain his position as the opposition leader, his vehicle was damaged in the commotion created by some protestors.
“In this regard, we have lodged a complaint with the police. Some people have been arrested. I ask for an impartial inquiry. I want such inquires to be conducted without any interference. I regret the incident. I wish to apologise to the party and the people of this country because I could not take steps to prevent such disturbances,” he said.
The opposition leader said a certain media institution was involved in inciting crowds towards such unruly behaviour on the day and action should be taken against it without any further delay.
“We believe in media freedom. Yet, media institutions do not have any right to decide on the appointment of leaders of political parties. We can do it even by clashing with one another,” he said.
Also, he asked the government to probe how a certain NGO pumped in money to the party’s Western Provincial Council member Shiral Laktilleka.
“I asked the German Ambassador earlier not to release funds to this person. I ask the government to probe how Mr. Laktilleka got NGO funds,” he said. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)