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Tax payers poised to cough up Rs.45 million on another debate on Easter attack

17 April 2024 10:30 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • The Business Committee of Parliament decided to have a three day debate
  • The SJB demanded this debate in the hope of fixing Mr. Sirisena to reveal the truth

By Yohan Perera   
Tax payers will have to cough up as much as Rs. 45 million as the cost of conducting yet another three-day parliamentary debate on the Easter Sunday attack for the fifth time, with uncertainty looming whether it will be a meaningless exercise with key questions unanswered once again.  
Previously, three such debates took place in the House, but failed to leave the question regarding the mastermind behind the attack unanswered. People, mostly the victims are still disturbed by speculation and demand justice in the form of ascertaining the truth behind the whole saga.  

 The Business Committee of Parliament that met on  April 5 decided to have a three day debate on the Easter Sunday attacks during the first week of sessions after the Sinhala and Tamil New year.  Accordingly the debate is scheduled for April 25,26 and 27. It is going to take place in the backdrop of remarks by former President Maithripala Sirisena that he was ready to divulge exclusive details about the Easter Sunday carnage. He even implicated the name of a country in  the neighbourhood.  
The main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) demanded this debate in the hope of fixing Mr. Sirisena to reveal the truth as the then Head of State in charge of national security .  
 The House debated on the Easter Sunday mayhem in 2019 for the first time. The House debated on the report of the presidential commission which probed the attacks in March 2021. Another debate took place just after Channel 4 of the UK came out with a documentary on the Easter Sunday attacks in September, 2023. Accordingly the debate which is set to begin on April 25 is the fourth one on the subject.   
 The debate which is to begin on April 25 is to cost the public Rs 45 million if one goes by the remark made by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena who claimed that the three day debate on the no-faith motion against him cost Rs.45 million in March this year. Though most of the opposition members have repeatedly said there is a mastermind behind the attack, no one has named any person.  One time Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekera once told Parliament that Naufer Mawlavi who has already been charged was the mastermind behind the attack. State Minister of Defence Premitha Bandara Tennakoon who commented on the matter said a parliamentary debate on the Easter Sunday attack will be a meaningless exercise as what is said in the House is not legally binding. “One can utter anything using parliamentary privileges but none of it is legally bound,” he said.   
He said there have been many questions raised but nothing has been achieved.  
 “It is the judiciary which prosecutes perpetrators and it has already begun that exercise. A case is being heard by a bench of three judges in the Supreme Court while a few other cases are also pending on the Easter Sunday mayhem,” he said. SJB MP Hector Appuhamy said the opposition merely accepted the debate. “We are aware that Parliament cannot do anything with regard to the mayhem. However, we will get the opportunity of talking and raising more questions during the debate. We can also question former President Maithripala Sirisena on his recent statements,” he said.   
 Member of the Communications Committee Archdiocese of Colombo Fr. Cyril Gamini who was skeptical on the matter said it is good if a debate brings out undisclosed facts but the fact of the matter is whether such a thing would happen. 

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