Calamity in Sri Lanka Parliament following assault attempt on Tamil MP

[TamilNet, Thursday, 05 August 2004, 10:56 GMT]
Proceedings of Sri Lanka's Parliament were suspended Thursday after a ruling party MP triggered pandemonium in the house by attempting to assault Tamil National Alliance MP Mr. M. K Sivajilingam. Ruling party MP Mr. Mervyn de Silva rushed to assault the TNA parliamentarian who had walked up to the speaker's chair urging him to expunge from Hansard a statement by tourism minister Mr. Anura Bandaranaike that Mr. Sivajilingam was elected "by fluke and by accident".

Making a statement in the house denying reports that he had accompanied renegade LTTE commander Karuna to Singapore, Mr. Anura Bandaranaike said:

"This type of unaceptable false statements are coming from an MP who was elected by fluke and by accident", referring to Mr. Sivajilingam who raised the matter in Parliament two weeks ago. The TNA MP was not present in house when Mr. Bandaranaike made the statement.

Upon being informed of the matter when returned to his seat, Mr. Sivajilingam stood up to urge the speaker to expunge what Mr. Bandaranaike had stated about his (Mr. Sivajilingam's) election. But the speaker ignored the TNA MP as he did not make a point of order and moved on to the next business of the house. Mr. Sivajilingam then walked up to the speaker's chair to present his case.

Mr. Mervyn de Silva MP rushed to assault the TNA MP as he was nearing the speaker's chair. Seeing this, TNA MPs Mr. N. Raviraj and Mr. S. Sivanesan hastened to defend Mr. Sivajilingam. Pandemonium reigned in the house when several government too ran towards the spot while others hurled insults and foul language at the TNA ranks in the opposition.

Speaker then suspended sittings and called TNA MPs to his chamber. There Mr. Sivajilingam explained that he had no intention of insulting the chair but was only urging it to expunge Mr. Bandaranaike's insult. The speaker then promised to expunge the matter from Hansard.

While the TNA was explaining his position when sittings resumed, Mr. Bandaranaike said " I am moving that Sivajilingam be removed from the house". This was seconded by ruling party MP Mr. Anura Yapa.

TNA members rose to their feet upon this protesting against the minister's interruption. The matter was then resolved when ruling party and oppositon MP accepted Mr. Sivajilingam's explanation to the speaker.


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