Minister of Public Enterprise, Kandyan Heritage and Kandy Development and Leader of the House of Parliament Lakshman Kiriella says that had the police shown same enthuse that it displayed for the letters meant to be sent to temples by his employees with regard to the security warning that had been issued to them on April 04, they could have averted the Easter Sunday carnage.
Participating in the two day debate in parliament on Tuesday on the current security situation the Minister said that three members of his media unit had been arrested on Thursday night with 600 allegedly defamatory letters regarding the President and inciting enmity among races. Minister Kiriella said he had come to know that letters were translations of excerpts of a news report on a prominent web site and intended to be circulated to Buddhist temples and politicians.
Kiriella said that the report published in the Colombo Telegraph web site on April 28 had been translated by his media unit in order to notify the Maha Sangha in the Kandy district. “However, as I was operating from my residence, due to security concerns and as my ministry is located in close proximity to one of the bombed hotels. Therefore, I was unable to go through the contents of the letter. However, upon reading through this letter, I did not find anything controversial targeting anyone or containing anything illegal.”
However, the letter only raised the issue that occurred on April 21 and whether the relevant authorities had failed to do their duty prior to the Easter Sunday attacks. “As the media have the freedom to report any incident that takes place in the country, I feel that the members of my media unit too have the same rights.”
He said the relevant letter had been sent to the Attorney General and he was willing to accept whatever decision taken by the AG.
The Minister questioned as to how an opposition MP who had made a statement on TV which could have aroused racial tensions is set free, while the three members of his media unit were still being detained. “The UPFA-MP made a statement on a TV programme on April 26 claiming that 11 soldiers had been killed during the Ampara operations, which could have aroused racial clashes and how come he is in parliament? We do not manipulate the police. The Prime Minister too does not control the police. Then who is manipulating the police to harass the members of the UNP?”, Kiriella asked.