7 February, 2023


Since Terrorism Has Been Terminated By Now, Will The PTA Be Abrogated? If Not Why?

By Ranil Wickremesinghe

Ranil Wickremesinghe

With a view to suppressing terrorist act of the LTTE, Parliament passed the Proscribing of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and Other Similar Organisations Act in 1978. However, since it was observed that this Act contained a number of shortcomings, the Prevention of Terrorism Act was passed in 1979 to replace it. Here, we took Prevention of Terrorism Act passed by the United Kingdom Parliament on terrorism in Northern Ireland as our basis.

Under this Act, action was taken against terrorists in South and North, and arrests were made. Now, the war in the North is over and the terrorism has been prevented. In such a situation, there arises no need for executing Prevention of Terrorism Act. As such, this Act should have been abrogated. At the inquiries made on this matter, the government stated on several occasions in this House itself that they are not going to execute the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

After the 11 September incident, the whole world is vigilant about international terrorist acts. The British parliament passed another Act in place of the formerly existed Prevention of Terrorism Act in order to prevent such terrorist activities. That Act has banned applying its articles for suppressing political activities.
Nevertheless, now this Act is being used for suppressing opposite political groups in Sri Lanka. Mr. Azath Sally was arrested under this Act. He is a politician who has been party to political activities both in the Opposition and the Government. At the Presidential Election 2010, he distanced himself from the United National Party and Supported Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse. At no occasion during his life time has Mr. Sally been ally to a terrorist organization.

It is said that he has been taken into custody based on a statement allegedly made by him. Politicians may make different statements. We have witnessed instances in which they make statements with as well as without responsibility. Mr. Sally made this statement at a time in which the government is taking no action whatsoever regarding harassments made against Muslims; at a time when Muslim Leaders in the government are keeping quiet.

Against such a backdrop, if there are charges that the frantic statement made by Mr. Sally contains some elements of wrongdoing and irresponsibility, what should first of all have done was to inquire whether he in fact has made such a statement and to take action under ordinary law if it is confirmed after such investigations that he has made an offence. Contrarily, his being arrested under Prevention of Terrorism Act can by no means be condoned.

For this reason, the present conduct of the government raises serious questions. The conclusion we can arrive at through this conduct is that the government is abusing Prevention of Terrorism Act to suppress its political opponents. This situation may be aggravated in future. Government may even resort to misuse this Act to suppress the waves of public protest rising against its misconduct throughout the country. This is a clear indication of the trend towards an autocracy. This is a very perilous state of affairs.

Therefore, I would like to ask Hon. Prime Minister the following:
1. Why was action taken on Mr. Azath Sally under the Prevention of Terrorism Act rather than under average law?
2. Will this Act be used further for suppressing politicians of the opposition and public forces?
3. Since terrorism has been terminated by now, will the Prevention of Terrorism Act be abrogated? If not why?

*Question Asked by Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the Opposition under Standing Order 23(2) on 07.05.2013

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Sri Lanka does have a high number of traitors in positions of influence, if not of power. A Patriot Act similar to the one in the US would not go amiss at least for the next 20 years or do. The Security of Sri Lanka demands it, and there will be no moaning from the likes of the US and it’s proxies.

    • 0

      Sri Lanka should take cue from ‘Patriotic Act’ of the US, and give more teeth to our PTA to deal with Salley like up coming terrorists. They must be nipped at the bud.

      There is no chance whatsoever for RanilW to be elected again even as the PM let alone the President. Why? For one, even the extreme anti Rajapakse commentators here are divided about his capacity to elect himself to power. For another and most importantly, RanilW is a joke and has no chance to get the necessary Sinhala Buddhist votes in the villages. If those remaining supporters in our villages read the views of the backers of RanilW here by chance, they too would abandon him immediately. Mark my word: coming up strike this month too would fail just like that march to ‘Haultsdoff Spring’ and etc. So MR can safely be assured passing of 19A and another term.

  • 0

    MR had the best opportunity to develop our country and to reconcile with Tamil community soon after end of the war.

    But he lost it due to own stupidity, blowing the winners trumpet and eating Kiribath while passing the 18th amendment.

    MARA was more into consolidating power around the family than to find sollutions to the burning problems.

    This gave way for Tamil diaspora more time to re-group and come as a stronger force.

    Now with UNHRC behind our back door and Tamilnadu and tamil diaspora in the front door and internal uprisings spreading across the board, there is not much left to talk about, but to safeguard the country from a total Economic, Political, racial and Religious collapse.


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