Amidst Joint Opposition protests Crucial OMP Bill rushed through Parliament Entire process takes less than two hours
Posted on August 11th, 2016

By Saman Indrajith Courtesy The Island

The Joint Opposition’s protest enabled the government to rush the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Bill through parliament yesterday.

The Bill was passed with amendments amidst shouting and chanting of slogans by Joint Opposition against the government.

When the time came for Notice of Motions and Orders of the Day, Leader of the House Highways and Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella moved the Office on Missing Persons (Establishment, Administration and Discharge of Functions) Bill for the second reading.

MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena said that the Joint Opposition would not agree with the government’s to change the session plan to hold the debate on the OMP for two days – Thursday and Friday) and to have the vote in Friday evening to advance the voting at 11 am on Friday.  He said that shortening the time of debate would deprive the Opposition MPs of their time to speak in Parliament leading to the deprivation of their privileges.

Following this, the members Joint Opposition invaded the Well of Parliament wearing black armbands as a sign of protest against the Bill. Some MPs were wearing black sataka and shouting against the government accusing the latter of betraying the nation.

As the protest was continuing not permitting the proceedings to continue, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya suspended sittings around 12.19 pm and called for a meeting of party leaders.

When the House resumed sittings, Leader of the House Minister Kiriella said that party leaders had agreed to extend Thursday’s debate time by three more hours till 9.30 pm and to have the vote at 11 am on Friday. The MPs of Joint Opposition protested, saying that they could not debate the issue till 9.30 pm and demanded the government to reverse its decision and to adhere to the original plan.

MEP Leader Gunawardena said that the change of plan amounted to a breach of privileges of MPs.

JVP MP Vijitha Herath explaining his party’s position said that the JVP had agreed to hold the debate for full two days and to have the vote taken at 6.00 pm on Friday. He, too, said that there was no point continuing the debate till 9.30 pm on Thursday but to finish sittings at usual time at 6.30 pm on Thursday, resume it at 9.30 am on Friday and to continue till 6 pm to put the Bill to the vote. The JVP had been permitted to present an adjournment motion for Friday, but the party was willing to postpone it if the government took the vote at 6 pm Friday, he said. “The original plan was to debate the VAT bill for two days, but following the Supreme Court decision that need did not arise. Had there been different pronouncement from the Supreme Court, we would have been debating the VAT Bill. Then, none of these problems of adjusting or changing the session plan would not have arisen,” he said, adding that the OMP Bill was originally scheduled for the next sitting week so that a two-day debate could be held and the vote be taken during the next sitting week.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya: “Except the Joint Opposition all other parties at the party leaders’ meeting agreed to have the vote at 11 am on Friday.”

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe: “The VAT Bill was presented to Parliament but following the Supreme Court opinion we did not take it for debate. The next most important Bill in the Order Book was the OMP. That was why we needed to bring it forward. There are no legal impediments to advancing the OMP Bill as it has not been challenged before courts. Then we with the consent of all allocated Thursday and Friday for the debate and agreed to have the vote at 11.00 am. There is Law Asia international conference on Friday evening. The President, the Minister of Justice and I have been invited to be present there. That was why we needed to have the vote at 11.00 am so that the MPs who go to the mosque on Friday noon prayers could do so. Otherwise, we could debate this till midnight tonight if the Opposition needs more time.”

Opposition Leader R Sampanthan said that his party had agreed to continue the debate till 9.30 pm on Thursday because the OMP Bill was very important.

Joint Opposition MPs Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Wimal Weerawansa opposed Opposition Leader Sampanthan’s suggestion; they pointed out that the Opposition MPs needed more time. MP Nanayakkara said the government had proposed 17 amendments to the bill and those amendments should be presented to the oversight committee before being taken up in the House.

Leader of the House Minister Kiriella said the government was willing to give time by stretching the session till 9.30 pm yesterday and till 2.00 pm today and invited Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera to commence the debate.

Joint Opposition MPs invaded the Well again for the second time and Sergeant-at-Arms Anil Parakrama Samarasekera aided by his deputies protected the Mace from the invaders.

Minister Samaraweera’s introduction to the bill was seconded by TNA MP MA Sumanthiran. JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake, too, spoke while Joint Opposition MPs remained in the Well shouting slogans.

At the end of MP Ratnayake’s speech, Speaker Jayasuriya asked whether the Joint Opposition MPs would participate in the debate or not and if they intended to do so to take their seats. However, since none of the JO MPs taking the opportunity to participate in the debate, Speaker Jayasuriya called on the Leader of the House to move the for the next item. So Minister Kiriella said that second reading of the bill was over and moved the House for committee stage for the third reading of the bill. As the government read out its amendments, the JO MPs shouted slogans. The bill was passed with amendments and the entire process took place within less than two hours.

House was adjourned till 9.30 am today.

4 Responses to “Amidst Joint Opposition protests Crucial OMP Bill rushed through Parliament Entire process takes less than two hours”

  1. plumblossom Says:

    The missing persons commission, the name is a misnomer. it should be called ‘those combatants on all sides who died in the war i.e. Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force. Civil Defence Forces, IPKF, Tamil Armed Groups against the LTTE and the LTTE terrorists themselves and whose bodies have not be found’. Therefore the name itself is wrong and invented by the UNHRC to tarnish the image of the armed forces of Sri Lanka.

    The missing persons commission to date has receive 24,000 complaints from 1983-2009 period. Of this number over 5,000 are regarding missing Sri Lankan Forces members, whereabouts unknown, almost certainly executed by the LTTE terrorists. Over 12,000 complaints are against the LTTE itself recruiting young persons by coercion. Therefore over 70% of complaints are against the LTTE itself which amounts to over 17,000 complaints. The rest of the complaints are I am sure about the whereabouts of LTTE combatants or terrorists who died while fighting but whose bodies have not been found.

    My question is, why cannot the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India accept that Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force, Civil Defence Forces, IPKF, Tamil Armed Groups against the LTTE and the LTTE terrorists themselves died fighting in this war and leave it at that. What is the point in looking for these combatants now? Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India never ever talk about the over 35,000 Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force, civil Defence Force members who died in the war? or the 1,200 IPKF members or the over 2,000 Tamils Armed Groups against the LTTE members who died in the war? or the over 6,000-7,000 Sinhala civilians and even Muslims civilians who were massacred by the LTTE? or the around (my estimate) over 3,000 Tamil civilians massacred by the LTTE?

    Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India is not concerned about the over 10,000 Sri Lankan Forces members permanently disabled by the war, or the over 23,000 Sri Lankan Forces members both temporarily and permanently disabled by the war? or the over 136,000 Sri Lankan Forces members who were injured due to the war?

    Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India not concerned about the over 65,000 Sinhala people and over 75,000 muslims ethnically cleansed from the North?

    Why is it that the only the around 35,000 LTTE terrorists who died inclusive of Prabhakaran are the concern of the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India? Perhaps this missing persons commission should answer that question first.

  2. plumblossom Says:

    The missing persons, the name itself is a misnomer. When a soldier or an LTTE terrorist died in combat and a body was not found due to let us say the other side burying the body, the combatant is considered missing in action. Therefore the name of this commission should be ‘Those who died in the war on all sides and whose bodies have not been found’. Therefore now looking for all of these combatants whether LTTE terrorists or Sri Lanka Forces members is useless since it is a complete waste of time. Also what about all the navy personnel or even LTTE terrorists who died at sea, their bodies certainly would not have been found. So all of these combatants are missing in action.

    The missing persons commission to date has receive 24,000 complaints from 1983-2009 period. Of this number over 5,000 are regarding missing Sri Lankan Forces members, whereabouts unknown, almost certainly executed by the LTTE terrorists. Over 12,000 complaints are against the LTTE itself recruiting young persons by coercion. Therefore over 70% of complaints are against the LTTE itself which amounts to over 17,000 complaints. The rest of the complaints are I am sure about the whereabouts of LTTE combatants or terrorists who died while fighting but whose bodies have not been found.

    Therefore it is extremely clear that it is the LTTE which should be questioned about these missing persons and this treacherous yahapalanaya has placed our Sri Lankan Armed Forces in deep trouble for no reason as usual.

  3. plumblossom Says:

    The JVP until around 2010 was an extremely patriotic political party. However after Rathu Ali Patiya or Anura Kumara Dissanayake, the traitor, took over and a few other traitors to their own motherland took over (Sunil Handunneti, Vijitha Herath, Tilvin Silva etc.) the JVP has become traitors to their own Sri Lankan people and to their own motherland and become lakcys of ultra, extreme capitalist forces and lackys of the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden, India (‘mankolla kalliya’ who steal other countries resources by bombing those countries) the racist TNA, the separatist terrorists etc.

    The JVP is today being indirectly funded by thousands of US dollars and they are indirectly working for US imperialism. It is absolutely clear to most people. It calls itself ‘socialist’ only to hoodwink its gullible supporters in order to get those gullible supporters votes.

    The US imperialists have done this elsewhere, in other countries, who resist their imperialism. They buy off small fake socialist parties indirectly with thousands of US dollars. These fake socialist parties are useful since they are there to raise some valid but not so important issues (but not at all a threat to US imperialism’s aims in the unfortunate country concerned) and hoodwink a few thousand voters to support them. In Sri Lanka the JVP, Wickramabahu and the NSSP, the FLSP they are all indirectly supportive of setting up an Eelam and indirectly supporting US imperialism. It is obvious from their actions, utterances and statements especially regarding national security, sovereignty of the country, independence, freedom. separate state, federalism, lack of any comments about the racist, fascist TNA, lack of any comments about the thousands upon thousands of Sri Lankan armed forces members and civilians massacred by the LTTE terrorists etc.

    In other independently thinking countries also where the US wants to bring about ‘regime change’ the US imperialists support small fake socialist parties such as the JVP, FLSP, Wickramabahu of the NSSP. So this is not at all a surprise to anyone who has observed these world trends over many years.

    In addition, NORAD wrote a detailed report about why the 2001-20014 treacherous Ranil’s Eelam project failed. There the NORAD report mentions buying off the JVP and the Hela Urumaya for future success in setting up an Eelam. that is exactly what has happened today as anyone can see.

  4. plumblossom Says:

    In the missing persons act, a relative or a friend can make an official complaint to the OMP by e-mail the whereabouts of their relative or friend. There are over 8 lakhs to 10 lakhs Tamil diaspora asylum seekers (actually economic migrants), a majority of whom support the separatist terrorist LTTE and its aim of a separate state.

    If even 40,000 of these Tamil diaspora who support the separatist terrorist LTTE write bogus emails to the OMP inquiring the whereabouts of their friend or relative (but this friend or relative is actually living alongside them in these countries i.e. the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India etc.) these inquiries will officially be accepted by the OMP as 40,000 missing persons.

    In the OMP Act, even if the OMP inquires after these let us say 40,000 and finds out that these are all bogus inquiries and that all these 40,000 persons are actually living alongside the inquirer i.e. their relative or friend and these complaints about these persons being missing are all bogus, the missing persons, now found by the OMP, can request that their whereabouts not be revealed to their relative or friend or be made public. So officially these 40,000 persons will still be missing!!!

    Then the OMP will use these bogus 40,000 missing persons (who are actually living comfortably in the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India etc.) as ‘evidence’ that war crimes happened in Sri Lanka (and all these bogus inquiries will state that these persons went missing during the 2006-2009 period) and our Sri Lankan Forces will be persecuted for committing war crimes by a judicial process using these bogus email inquiries.

    The missing persons act states specifically that if the missing person who is found requests that the fact that they are found not be revealed to the public that person will remain as missing as far as the OMP is concerned. This is how the OMP will manufacture bogus evidence of 40,000 missing persons so that the Sri Lankan Armed Forces can be persecuted for committing bogus war crimes.

    The OMP emails cannot be checked by any outside body as stated in the act since all evidence (almost all bogus) gathered by the OMP remains confidential. The OMP cannot be taken to the supreme court on this issue. However OMP should be taken to the supreme court regarding what I have written above which is what would happen when this OMP is set up.

    The OMP will become a bogus evidence manufacturing machine which will gather such bogus inquiries via email from those members of the Tamil diaspora who are supportive of the LTTE terrorists and who will send bogus email inquiries in their thousands. All these bogus inquiries (of people who are actually living in in the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India etc.) will then be used as missing persons inquiries.

    I did not realize that the Sinhalese were this stupid as to allow such a process within the missing persons act which can be blatantly misused in order to manufacture bogus evidence like this. The OMP process is not transparent, it will happen in totally secrecy, no one in Sri Lanka will be able to question it, not our police, our courts, Sri Lankan citizens, nobody. All the OMP will do is gather bogus email ‘evidence’ such as described above to try the Sri Lankan Armed Forces for bogus war crimes which they never committed.

    The OMP process as described above must be stopped immediately. If a relative or a friend really and genuinely wants to find out about their genuinely missing relative or friend, they can make a complain to the OMP in person in public. This is the only way that Sri Lanka and the world will know that this inquiry is genuine. This was the methodology followed by the earlier Paranagama Commission which then received 24,000 complaints from relatives or friends of the missing persons but they complained in public in person to the commission. Even some of these complaints may be bogus too.

    The OMP should be stopped immediately since it is not a transparent process at all as described above. If the UNHRC, the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India, the TNA and the separatist terrorists genuinely want to find out about perished LTTE terrorists, this yahapalanaya government could expand the scope of the Paranagama Commission in order to make such inquiries. This process should be totally following Sri Lankan Law, within Sri Lankan jurisdiction, paid for totally by the Sri Lankan Government only and with only Sri Lankan citizens appointed as commission members and investigators. In fact the entire staff should be Sri Lankan citizens only. The process should be a totally domestic process with no interference or input whatsoever from foreign countries. Most importantly, all complaints should be made in person by relatives and friends in public if their complaint is genuine.

    The missing persons act as it is totally dangerous as pointed out above and should be dismissed totally as it is highly dangerous and a totally secretive process as described above to manufacture bogus evidence against the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

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