In an outward display of anti-Muslim and racist attitudes – characteristics inherent to factions supporting Rajapaksas – Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) provincial politicos of Kalutara district, stormed out of the Coordinating Committee meeting citing ‘safety concerns’ after Western Province Governor Azath Salley walked in.
Walallawita Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, Udeni Athukorale who appeared to be leading the group spoke to media while staging his walk-out and said, “We can’t be part of the meeting if our security can’t be guaranteed…We have concerns about our security now.” Their security concern was the arrival of Governor Salley – a confusing claim to make about the President’s representative to Co-Chair the meeting.
He went on to state that if the leaders are unable to grasp the ‘growing wave’ in this country, he cannot be part of meetings organised by the government. SLFP members however continued to sit in the meeting but Athukorale said SLFP members remaining in the meeting is their prerogative, irrelevant to SLPP members.
When inquired about the walk-out from SLFP frontliner, MP Kumara Welgama, he said it was the MPs personal decision and added he however did not leave, out of respect for the meeting.
“He [Salley] has been appointed by the President. What can I achieve by protesting an appointment made by the President? He has that power,” Welgama added.
Meanwhile, a group of Bhikkus also staged a protest before the secretariat against Salley’s participation and the crowd hooted at Salley when he walked out upon concluding the meeting,