The opposition took the government to task today over the erratic behaviour of the Police when they disrupted a legitimate dissent by the people over many issues taking place in the country.

Opposition members vehemently deplored arbitrary action by the Police to send trade union activists for forced quarantine. The Police have arrested a host of trade union activists following multiple protests in Colombo Produced them before a Magistrate with a request for an order to send them to a quarantine centre for 14 days. However, none of the magistrates adhered to the request and released them on bail. The Police subsequently forcibly took them to quarantine centres in the North.

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has called on the government to inquire into the incident relating to the arrests of trade union activists during protests on Thursday

He said there was no law for forced quarantine, and the Police have failed to conduct PCR or antigen tests on any person.

He also said constitutional provisions take precedence over the quarantine laws and said the quarantine laws are subject to provisions relating to the personal freedoms of individuals.

He said it is an individual’s fundamental right to assemble while the state cannot force a person to be taken away to areas like Mullaithivu to undergo quarantine as per the quarantine law. The European Union’s attitude towards the country was softened when the government moved to release LTTE suspects held in custody for long and, the former Prime Minister said yesterday’s behaviour may negate that. He also mentioned that Joseph Stalin was a known figure internationally.

Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara said it is the Director-General of Health Services who directed Sri Lanka Police to ban meetings and protests, in terms of the quarantine law.

‘We are not bothered about anybody’s position, if protests and meetings are organized arrests will be made,’ he told the Parliament. The Minister also said that the Leader of the Opposition was making misleading statements.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa told the House that Sri Lanka Police is not the ultimate authority in enforcing the quarantine laws.

‘The Director-General of Health Services is the competent authority to enforce the quarantine law and not the police,’ he stressed.

He found fault with the Police for ill-treating people after they were bailed out and taken for quarantine. He said there were no PHI or anybody in authority present to confirm that they needed to be quarantined.

‘There is no law in this country if the Sri Lanka Police tends to seize the powers of the Director-General of Health Services, he said.

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake alleged that the authorities abused and misused the quarantine law to abduct people for exercising their legitimate rights as citizens.

You were sympathetic towards some women on an earlier occasion and showed much affection there, was nothing wrong with that he, said taking swipes at the Minister,

Dissanayake nevertheless told the Minister to treat all alike, pinpointing that some women taken forcibly were wearing torn clothes.

Sarath Weerasekara replying said the essentials given to those who taken away for quarantine.

We will not stop arresting people who protest and attend meetings,’ he said.

In the ensuing argument, the opposition leader queried if the quarantine laws do not apply to the people engaged in celebrations,  especially after an individual sworn in as an MP.

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told the Minister to act according to the law, not according to what you think as the law.









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