Rowdy scenes in the House | Daily News

Rowdy scenes in the House

UNP MP Palitha Thevarapperuma who smuggled in a butter knife into the Chamber and behaved in a threatening manner being overpowered by fellow UNP MPs at yesterday’s Parliamentary sitting. Pictures by Sajeewa Chinthaka.
UNP MP Palitha Thevarapperuma who smuggled in a butter knife into the Chamber and behaved in a threatening manner being overpowered by fellow UNP MPs at yesterday’s Parliamentary sitting. Pictures by Sajeewa Chinthaka.

Pandemonium reigned in Parliament yesterday as members of both sides were on a collision course, which ended up in a show of their muscle power, unfolding a series of ugly scenes in an intensely heated brief sitting.

The House met with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya presiding and as he assumed his Chair the UPFA MPs hooted at him. The Speaker reacted with a “Thank you” and reminded all the MPs to act with restraint. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed the PM’s seat while former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe chose to sit in a back row of the Opposition as same as on Wednesday.

At the outset, the Speaker announced that he would not recognize any MP as the Prime Minister, Minister, State or Deputy Minister, Chief Government Whip or Leader of the House as the Cabinet of Ministers stands dissolved after the No-Confidence Motion on Wednesday. “A new Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers are not yet appointed. There is free seating for the convenience of business of the House today,” he said.

“I also remind you that according to the Standing Orders, the final decision on all Parliamentary affairs lies with the Speaker. Such a decision can only be challenged inside the Chamber,” he added.

Leader of the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardena interrupting the Speaker’s speech said that he should first read President Maithripala Sirisena’s letter which said that the President does not accept the NCM. The Speaker replied that he would read it aloud with the reply letter sent by him to the President. Then he gave the floor to PM Rajapaksa to make his speech.

As PM Rajapaksa concluded his speech, MP Lakshman Kiriella moved a motion which said that the House has no confidence on the statement made by Rajapaksa and called for a division by name for it. As the Speaker let the House decide as to whether there would be a vote on it, the UPFA MPs started protesting.

MP Thilanga Sumathipala hurriedly went near the Speaker’s Chair and both were engaged in a heated argument. Sumathipala was followed by a group of UPFA MPs and in a while the Speaker was under complete siege. UNP MPs Ranjan Ramanayake, Kavinda Jayawardena, Kabir Hasheem, Hector Appuhamy, Asoka Abeysinghe and Mangala Samaraweera also rushed near the Speaker’s Chair and formed a protective ring.

MPs exchanged blows near the Speaker’s Chair while Serjeant-at-Arms Narendra Fernando held the Mace in his hand to prevent the MPs from grabbing it. A water bottle, a dustbin, a copy of the Constitution were among the items hurled at the Speaker by the UPFA MPs. Amidst the free-for-all in the House, MPs Prasanna Ranaweera, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Harin Fernando and Naveen Dissanayake were seen exchanging heavy blows.

Caught up in the melee, MP Sidney Jayaratne and a few others fell on the floor. Some senior MPs of both sides including Patali Champika Ranawaka, Vijith Vijithamuni de Soysa and Sajith Premadasa were seen trying to separate the clashing MPs. PM Rajapaksa and former PM Wickremesinghe were seen seated throughout the fracas.

MPs Ananda Aluthgamage, Prasanna Ranaweera, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Piyal Nishantha, Udaya Padmashantha and Palitha Thewarapperuma were noted for their violent behaviour and many UPFA MPs repeatedly hurled abused at the Speaker. MP Ananda Aluthgamage grabbed the Speaker’s microphone and MP Dilum Amunugama injured his hand while trying to break the microphone. MP Amunugama was then taken to a hospital.

Ministers Dilan Perera and Pavithra Wanniarachchi led the slogan “Moota vada Paba hondai”. The beleaguered Speaker then left the Chamber, while the UPFA MPs cheered “Jaya Wewa”. After the Speaker left PM Rajapaksa and former PM Wickremesinghe also left the Chamber. While the UNP MPs came up with a slogan “Mahinda hora penala giya”, the UPFA MPs replied “Benku hora penala giya”. The JVP MPs joined with them with a slogan, “horu dennama penala giya”. As the Speaker left the Chair, the House stood adjourned. The MPs, who remained in the Chamber even after the adjournment, were seen sitting on the steps near the Speaker’s Chair. MP Susantha Punchinilame sat on the Secretary General’s Chair and was seen video recording the entire episode.

The Party Leaders, who met after the adjournment of the House, decided to have the next sitting at 1.30 pm today.


 


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