Riot in House,blows exchanged | Daily News

Riot in House,blows exchanged

UNP Kegalle District MP Sandith Samarasinghe who was injured in the melee yesterday.  Picture by Saliya Rupasinghe

Pandemonium broke out in Parliament yesterday when Joint Opposition and government members exchanged blows in the Well of the House around 1.30 p.m. causing injuries to several MPs and one of them being admitted to the Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital. Parliamentary sources revealed that UNP Kegalle District MP Sandith Samarasinghe was admitted to hospital while UPFA Gampaha district MP Prasanna Ranaweera too suffered injuries.

The members of the Joint Opposition

and some Government back benchers in the Well of the House were going for each other while UNP Kegalle District MP Sandith Samarasinghe and UPFA Gampaha District MP Prasanna Ranaweera were seen in the middle of the brawl exchanging blows.

Both Samarasinghe and Ranaweera fell on the ground and were wrestling it out until some of their colleagues separated the duo, albeit reluctantly. During the brawl, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya observed that it was a shame and attempted to control the situation but was in vain. Thereafter the Speaker suspended sittings at 2.35 p.m. for five minutes.

Even after the sittings were suspended members of both sides remained in the Well and engaged in heated arguments. Bandula Gunawardena, Johnston Fernando, Keheliya Rambukwella, Sriyani Wijewickrama, Anoma Gamage et al. were seen attempting to calm the situation.

Things erupted when some Joint Opposition members commenced to shout and voiced their protest while Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka was explaining reasons for the removal of the Army detail of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, replacing them with Police officers.

The matter of the removal of the Army detail from Rajapaksa was brought before the House by Joint Opposition member Dinesh Gunawardena who kept on insisting that the decision be revoked.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe responding said that Minister Field Marshal Fonseka would explain the matter in detail.

When Minister Fonseka commenced his speech, Joint Opposition MPs rose to their feet and started to shout while the Field Marshal continued his speech amidst the disturbance caused by Joint Opposition members.

The Joint Opposition members then stormed into the Well of the House and marched towards the Speaker’s podium and Sergeant-at-Arms Anil Parakrama Samarasekara, Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms Narendra Fernando and Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms Kushan Jayaratne were seen rushing towards the mace while government members including back benchers formed a cordon around Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and covered Minister Fonseka who was continuing with his speech.

Meanwhile, Joint Opposition members were heard inquiring from the Speaker to which he responded that Fonseka was named and he was given the opportunity to speak.

However Joint Opposition members continued to make inquiries and the Speaker observed that Field Marshal Fonseka too played his part to end the war.

“So he should also be heard,” the Speaker said.

Joint Opposition MP Dinesh Gunawardena was heard shouting at the Chair that they asked for a response from the Prime Minister not from his “watcher”.

Then the protest of the Joint Opposition became more intense when they commenced shouting “Vel Vidane, Vel Vidane”.

In this situation, the Speaker stated that ample time was given to Minister Fonseka and ordered to him terminate his speech. The microphone of Fonseka was turned off thrice but he was given the opportunity to continue on all those occasions.

When Fonseka wound up his speech, government members applauded while Joint Opposition members hooted in protest. Meanwhile, a heated argument broke out between several members on both the sides.

UPFA Gampaha District MP Prasanna Ranaweera was seen preparing to deal a blow at Kalutara District UNP Palitha Thevarapperuma and Thevarapperuma retaliated. Kalutara District UPFA MP Piyal Nishantha rushed to the scene and threw punches at MP Thevarapperuma and all the members were grappling with each other.

However, Prasanna Ranaweera and Sandith Samarasinghe resorted to fisticuffs all of a sudden and were seen exchanging blows. They were being pushed to and fro in the melee right in front of the Speaker’s rostrum and fell on the floor.

The two continued punching each other and Ranaweera managed to rise to his feet first. However, the members intervened to stop the brawl and Sandith Samarasinghe was seen being supported to his feet.

The members still remained in the Well despite the Speaker’s attempt to maintain order. He suspended sittings at 1.35 p.m. for five minutes and the Prime Minister left the Chamber.

MPs Bandula Gunawardena, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Sriyani Wijewickrama, Anoma Gamage and Keheliya Rambukwella were seen trying to quell the riot.

UNP members Sagala Ratnayaka and Malik Samarawickrama were seen negotiating with Opposition MPs Udaya Gammanpila, Prasanna Ranatunga, Niroshan Premaratne, Salinda Dissanayake, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, C.B. Ratnayake, Gamini Lokuge, Jhonston Fernando, Ranjith Soyza, Chandrasiri Gajadheera, D.V Chanaka, Namal Rajapaksa and Weerakumara Dissanayake.

Arshu Marasinghe, Mujibur Rahuman, Kavinda Jayawardena, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Ranjan Ramanayake, S. M. Marrikar, Ashok Abeysinghe, Palani Digambaram, Wasantha Aluvihare and Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilake were also seen in the Well.

Sittings resumed at 3.00 p.m. presided by the Speaker and was adjourned for 1.00 p.m. today following a statement made condemning the incident. He also added that the incident took place within the Well that led to a member being admitted to hospital injuries caused to several members which was a disgrace. Due to this reason the environment was not conducive for the continuation of sittings.


 

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Disgrace is totally inadequate description of the behavior of the so called "Honourable" members of Parliament.

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