The government was plotting to introduce a new Anti-Terrorism-Bill to suppress people and trade unions who were set to rise against the burden of the people through the implementation of IMF conditions, National People's Power (NPP) MP Vijitha Herath said today.
He told a news conference that the new Anti-Terrorism Bill which was gazetted by the government was against democratic principles.
“The government is creating an environment where people were struggling with their day-to-day life due to tough IMF mandate. Plans are afoot to sell profit-making state ventures at a bargain. Sri Lanka Telecom and Sri Lanka Insurance which employ a large number of people were set to be sold out. This Anti-Terrorism Bill is gazetted to suppress the mounting protest by the people and trade unions against these moves,” he said.
The MP said the then President JR Jayewardene introduced the Prevention Of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act in 1979 claiming that it was for a temporary period and added that all the government so far used this Act to suppress people's voice against them.
He said the 'Yahapalana' government during 2015 and 2019 was planning to introduce a Counter Terrorism Bill, and it was trying again to bring in as an Anti-Terrorism Bill.
“The interpretation of the term 'terrorism' is very serious. The interpretation of terrorism in the Bill is against interpretation and criteria on terrorism accepted by the UN. Expressing an opinion or releasing a statement against the government, taking trade union action have been interpreted as a terrorist act,” he said.
He urged the government to withdraw this anti-democratic Bill which was brought in to suppress people and trade unions and said the NPP would take every effort to defeat the Bill. “We will go to the Supreme Court, take trade union action and bring the people to the street against this Bill,” he said. (Ajith Siriwardana)
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