Extremist Goons Are Operating Under Blessings Of Govt: UNP

Commenting on the government's move to set up a special Police Unit to look into matters concerning religions, the main opposition the United National Party said yesterday that 'extremist goons' are operating in the country under the blessings of the government. 

By setting up a separate Police Unit, President Rajapaksa, the UNP said, has admitted that the Department of Police, which remained under the watch of the President for more than nice years, haven't fulfilled the tasks with which it is entrusted. 

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"That was exactly why the President had to set up separate ‘Police Unit’ to look into matters concerning religions –this time under the purview of the Religious Affairs Ministry," the main opposition party said. 

"No explanation was given with regard to the legal aspect of setting up a Police Unit for religious matters. It is still a question whether the Religious Affairs Ministry has a legal authority to operate a special Police unit under its watch. The setting up of the Police Unit also gave rise to two other questions - In addition to accepting complaints does it have real investigative powers? Does it have wherewithal and resources to apprehend perpetrators and prosecute them? Within the first two days, we came to know that the unit has received over 200 complaints. However, within a matter of few days, the fate of the 200 complaints will surely come under the public spotlight!," the UNP questioned.

"Various malicious groups, who claim themselves “Buddhists “, took to streets under the blessings of the government. As a result, law enforcement bodies cannot take actions against extremist hooligans who strive to perpetuate religious intolerance. For instance, one group of hooligans addressed media within the premises of the Slave Island Police station and then stormed a ministry in Colombo which is headed by a Muslim," the UNP stated. 

To prevent ethnic and religious extremism in the country, the UNP urged the government to restore the 17th Amendment to the constitution which, according to the UNP, was quashed when introducing the 18th Amendment. 

"What the country actually requires is independent government institutions that can act efficiently without political interference. To make it a reality, the government should restore the 17th Amendment to the constitution with more teeth and powers. However, the 17th Amendment was quashed by the present regime when it introduced the 18th Amendment, paving the way for family rule and autocracy," the statement added.


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