Colombo Telegraph

Somebody Has Gone In A Helicopter And The Buried Gold Has Been Taken Away – Sampanthan

“I have got information now, Sir, how Nadeshwara College and a house opposite it were bulldozed yesterday. They found gold there in the premises of this house. Apparently, a person who is not there now had buried the gold there in his foundation thinking that it will be safe. It appears the gold has been taken away.” leader of the Tamil National Alliance, R. Sampanthan said yesterday.

” ‘Somebody has gone in a helicopter’, I am told. The gold has been taken in a helicopter. So, I do not think, Sir, these are good things. I do not think these things should be allowed to happen. I heard many people talk about the TNA today. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to deal with all that. But, you have much more to do with the LTTE than me. I do not know who KP is. I have not seen him. But, he is your buddy. There is a Minister in your Cabinet who has been referred to the LLRC Report in regard to something that happened in Batticaloa sometime ago. You had the former Chief Minister in the Eastern Province who did not win this time. You made him win.  I have nothing to do with the LTTE. You have a lot to do with them. Can you deny the fact that the LTTE influenced the election verdict in your favour in December, 2005? Can you deny that? So, please do not throw stones at us. We have nothing to do with the LTTE. We worked with them to bring about a political solution when we needed to work with them, but beyond that we never had any talk with the LTTE. I want to say that on the Floor of this House, and I want everyone of you to get that very clearly, that you have much more to do with the LTTE than I have or that we have.” Sampanthan made above remarks in the parliament yesterday.

We publish below the speech in full;

Mr. Chairman, I want to commence my speech by referring to the comments made by the Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena on the question of democracy. I will speak about this later in the course of my speech. But, let me publicly state that the most democratic election conducted in recent times in the past several decades was undoubtedly the election conducted by Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike in 1977.

We are now discussing, Sir, the Votes of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and also the Votes of the Ministry of Law and Order. Our points of view may not be the same as the points of view of the Government. We listened to the Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena patiently and quietly and did not disturb him. We do hope that even if our points of view are different from the points of view expressed on behalf of the Government, you will kindly extend to us the same courtesy.

I propose, Sir, in the course of my speech today, to deal with the presence and the actions of the armed forces and of course, of the police, particularly in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. I must say that though the police may be accused of inaction at certain point of time, in the course of the elections in the Northern Province – I happened to be there quite frequently when the elections were taking place – the police officers, particularly those in the higher hierarchy of the police in the Northern Province, seemed very receptive to whatever we had to say. I also observed that at the meetings that were conducted on behalf of the TNA, there was police presence in sufficient numbers to ensure that the meetings were conducted without much disturbance. In any case, Sir, both the armed forces and the police are instruments of the Government and cannot but be reflective, at least to some degree, of Government policy. I propose, Sir, to deal with the role of these institutions, particularly during the course of the elections in the Northern Province, particularly by the armed forces.

And, in the course of doing so, rather than expressing my own views, which may be looked upon as views of the TNA and therefore not deserving of much attention, it is my intention to place before this House the views of very independent persons and institutions. I would think that such views would need to be taken quite seriously by the Government, in particular.

Elections, Sir, are a matter of concern to everybody. The preservation of a genuine democratic process is vital. It is the final bulwark of a free society. If we are not be able to have free and fair elections and if the democratic process cannot be upheld in a very upright way, this country cannot be a free country. What happened during the course of the Elections to the Northern Provincial Council, which were held after a long period of time? I think, Sir, I need to deal with that and in dealing with that, probably, the best way for me to present a very objective analysis would be to refer to the reports made by independent institutions and personnel who came in the form of both domestic and international observers. We had a team that came from the SAARC countries; we had a team that came from the Commonwealth and we had a team that came from the domestic non-governmental Organizations which monitor elections. I propose, Sir,  to read to this House, the observations that had been made by these independent institutions because I do not want anyone to say that this is the TNA point of view.

May I first read, Sir, the views expressed by the monitors who came from the SAARC countries, which were reported in the “Ceylon Today” of 30th September, 2013. I quote:

The Group noted that during the campaign period, on behalf of the government, various authorities were announcing schemes or making promises, which is not conducive to maintenance of a level playing field between the various contesting parties, and puts the parties other than the ruling party at relative disadvantage. The use of government resources, including vehicles, buildings and personnel needs to be better controlled for achieving this.

The Group was dismayed by the role of the Armed Force personnel in an attack on the house of a contesting candidate, which event was recapitulated in a press conference by a PAFFREL representative who was at the scene. This was also corroborated by a reliable independent source. There was also information from reliable sources about their involvement….”

The armed forces’ involvement.

“……..in distribution of pamphlets and involvement in transportation of voters in support of selected candidates.

The publication of a fake copy of the newspaper “Uthayan” which was given considerable publicity by a TV channel was one of the glaring incidents of misuse of freedom of press and media for partisan purposes.

The newspaper had published false news of the alleged change of party by the very candidate whose house was attacked on the 19th night, and it also had an alleged statement of boycott of the poll by one party.”

That is, by the TNA. The article further states, I quote:

“The Group is not aware of any action taken for stopping the display of misleading information by the TV channel on the day of the poll.

There were reports of enticement for temporary government staff and involving of government staff in campaign-related activity during office time. The more blatant was the reported use of the trainee nurses, pupil teachers, teachers, newly recruited graduates, samurdhi workers, civil defence services workers in campaigning, during and outside office hours. It will be worthwhile to consider a law for prohibiting government servants from indulging in political activity, even outside office hours”.

This is what the Commonwealth Observers say.  There was a newspaper that came out – a fake copy of the “Uthayan” newspaper, which in fact, stated that the TNA had withdrawn from the contest and there was a TV channel called DAN TV in Jaffna which kept on publicizing that report throughout the whole day. I sent a fax to the Commissioner of Elections with regard  to that matter.  I will place that matter before the House before I finish my speech.  This was the way in which the elections were conducted in the Northern Province and this report refers to the role of the armed forces and also the Government servants in regard to the manner in which these elections were conducted.  There were a few questions asked from the Commonwealth Observers, Sir.  I will read some of those paragraphs which clearly indicate what the Commonwealth Observers have suggested. What they have suggested is that the Seventeenth Amendment must be restored and that the Commissioner of Elections must be given a much more effective hand in regard to the conduct of free and fair elections in terms of the powers that had been conferred upon him by the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, which unfortunately had been taken away later.

I will just read one answer given by the former Chief Elections Commissioner of India in an interview with  “Ceylon Today”, to a simple question which will put the matter beyond doubt, Sir.  I quote:

“In simple terms, the 17th  Amendment should be implemented giving autonomy to the Elections Commissioner.”

Again he says, I quote:

“Instead of a long-winded answer I will simply put it as ‘Over-arching Powers’ powers or better still, provisions envisaged under the 17th Amendment for an independent elections commission.”

He also talks of the violation of the no-campaign rule by the Government party members and the fact that the  Commissioner of Elections does not have effective control over the police force during elections after the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment and the enactment of the Eighteenth Amendment. These are fundamental, Sir, because these are provisions that will ensure that democracy is preserved in this country by guaranteeing free and fair elections, which are necessary if there is to be a free society in this country.

Now, I will come on to the Report of the Commonwealth Observer Mission.  They have also made some comments in regard to the way in which the Northern Provincial Council Elections were conducted.

They state in the course of their Report, I quote:

“The Commissioner of Elections wrote to the Secretary-General of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the National Organiser of the UPFA on 9 September 2013, noting that uniformed men were carrying out campaign activities for one of the alliance’s candidates, Mr. M.  Remaddious.  According to reports of domestic observer groups accredited by the Commissioner of Elections, activities in support of this candidate included organising large campaign meetings.  The Mission saw widely available photographic evidence to support this assertion.  These reports include reference to local election officials being obstructed from doing their duty in enforcing relevant regulations.

We also heard representations that uniformed personnel were distributing building materials to communities in the presence of the said candidate.

The Mission was told by a local official that the Grama Niladari had, in some villages in the Province, been approached by the military for a copy of the electoral register. Furthermore, in some instances this had been provided, and that it was subsequently used to conduct house- to-house investigation with a view to influencing the electoral outcome. An election official spoken to was directly approached for a copy of the electoral register by the military.”

These are independent reports of independent Observers who came to this country. I do not want to unnecessarily blame the military but according to the Observers, this is what the military has done, they have gone to the extent of getting hold of electoral registers and campaigning with them. Can anyone say that this is part of  military duty?

Sir, the Report goes on to state further, I quote:

“In addition to this, persons employed by the military, including the frequently mentioned Civil Defence Force, were reported by domestic observer groups to have carried out door-to-door campaigns in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts on 5 and 6 September 2013.”

There was a house of a candidate that was attacked on the night of the 19th and a domestic observer from the PAFFREL who rushed there to investigate what really happened was also attacked apparently by the military.

The Report goes on to state further, I quote:

“The Mission heard numerous representations from political parties and civil society groups about the voters’ fear of reprisals in the light of the electoral outcome, based on an apparently widely spread rumour that voting could be traced.”

So, people were made to fear that if they voted in a particular way, how they voted could be ascertained and there could be consequences which could make them victims. Of course, I must say that the observers have commented very favourably on the performance of duties by the Commissioner of Elections, his staff and the officials who were responsible for polling and counting in the Northern Province, which clearly shows that they were prepared to recognize the good work of certain officials. But, they considered that it was their duty to point out several other things that had taken place.

Again the Report states, I quote:

“These positive achievements were undermined by a compromised pre-election environment. Key concerns included the heavy presence and influence of the military, including persistent reports of overt military support for particular candidates, reported cases of the military  actually campaigning for selected candidates, and military involvement in the intimidation of the electorate, party supporters and candidates.

The role of the military in the electoral campaign was consistently described to the Mission as a significant obstacle to a credible electoral process.

Furthermore, the fundamental freedoms of association and assembly were constrained in the pre-electoral period.  Opposition candidates and their supporters, as well as voters at large, faced instances of intimidation and harassment, and the freedom to hold campaign meetings and openly interact with the electorate was restricted.

There were numerous reported cases of misuse of public resources, ranging from misuse of government personnel, vehicles and facilities for partisan political activity to inducements offered to public officials and voters, including conditional job offers, conditional higher salaries and the cancellation of loans.  The media environment appeared constricted.”

“The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, enacted in 2010, undermined the constitutional and legal framework for a credible and competitive election.  In particular, the provision for an independent Electoral Commission has been negated.

Furthermore, there was an inadequate enforcement of existing laws.”

The Report goes on to state, I quote:

“In this context, while voters on Election Day were able to express their will, serious and fundamental shortcomings in the equally important pre-election period meant that in our overall assessment, the 21 September 2013 Northern Provincial Council Elections did not fully meet key benchmarks for democratic elections.”

This is a Report of the Commonwealth Observer Mission.  So, I do not think that this is an acceptable state of affairs in this country.  Given the fact that 2014 is generally looked upon as an election year where elections will take place in other parts of the country, not merely other Provincial Council Elections, there could be bigger elections.  If this is how democracy is going to be practised, that may not be very desirable; it may not be a very good thing.

Our own domestic organization, the PAFFREL also made its comments known.  It has issued a report where the same matters have been reiterated in perhaps a more effective way as they were able to interact with the people much better and get more information.  So, Mr. Chairman, this is a matter of grave concern, because if this type of thing is allowed to go on – CaFFE also confirms that.

The CaFFE Interim Report on Sri Lanka NPC Election 2013: Signs of Hope Over the Broken Palmyrah Towards a Civic Administration for the Northern Province states, I quote:

“CaFFE observers confirmed that the Military attempted to procure a copy of the Voters’ Registry through Grama Niladaris, Divisional Secretaries and Election Officials.  The Military officially requested the Jaffna Elections Commissioner for a copy, which the Commissioner Mr. Achchudan rejected by saying, “The Army has nothing to do with this election.”  Similar attempts were made to obtain the Registry through Grama Niladaris in Mullaitivu.”

The report continues to state, I quote:

“The Northern Province is the most highly militarized region in the country. There are close to 30 Army camps along the A-9 road from  Vavuniya to Jaffna.

CaFFE observer in the North reported 18 incidents where unidentified men who have short hair that walk according to marching rhythm  were conducting propaganda activities in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, and  Mullativu on September 19. All propaganda activities were to   stop on 18th September…..”

So, this is how the military has been behaving and this is how they have been involved in the elections. We won 30 seats out of 38 seats. – [Interruption.] I cannot hear you, Hon. (Dr.) Sarath Amunugama, but I would like not to be disturbed.

සභාපතිතුමා

(தவிசாளர் அவர்கள்)

(The Chairman)

Yes, Hon. (Dr.) Sarath Amunugama.

ගරු (ආචාර්ය) සරත් අමුණුගම මහතා

(மாண்புமிகு (கலாநிதி)  சரத் அமுனுகம)

(The Hon. (Dr.) Sarath Amunugama)

I would like to say that you have a lot of experience about elections in the North. Whatever these people say, there may be some truth in that, you will have to admit the more basic fact, that this election comparatively was a free and fair election. You will have to admit that. – [Interruption.]  So, you are admitting that. We have to make progress slowly.

ගරු ආර්. සම්පන්දන් මහතා

(மாண்புமிகு ஆர். சம்பந்தன்)

(The Hon.  R.  Sampanthan)

I will answer you. We are discussing the Defence Vote. We are discussing the military. I must say that the election day was reasonably free and fair but even on election day if you go through the reports, you will find that there were military personnel standing outside the polling booths to interfere. I am saying, we can have political rivalry but if the presence of the military in Jaffna, when it is looked upon as being oppressive,  in such a way even during an election campaign so as to influence a result through a process of intimidation and coercion,  is that acceptable? Is that acceptable? Can we permit that? If that type of thing is going to happen in the Northern Province, in the course of the Northern Provincial Council Elections, what guarantee is there that it is not going to happen in Kandy in time to come? It will not take too long. It can happen in any part of the country. Involvement by the military in this way in the election process is totally unacceptable and must be stopped. It is indicative of the excessive, oppressive military presence in the North and the thinking on the part of the military that they are entitled to control and determine all activities in that territory. That is unacceptable. That is the point I seek to make, Sir. Who was responsible for this? Was it the Army Commander in Jaffna? Was it the Governor who was the former Army Commander who campaigned for the ruling party? The present Governor of the Northern Province campaigned for the ruling party.

ගරු (ආචාර්ය) සරත් වීරසේකර මහතා (කම්කරු හා කම්කරු සබඳතා නියෝජ්‍ය අමාත්‍යතුමා)

(மாண்புமிகு (கலாநிதி) சரத் வீரசேகர – தொழில், தொழில் உறவுகள் பிரதி அமைச்சர்)

(The Hon. (Dr.) Sarath Weerasekara – Deputy Minister of Labour and Labour Relations)

Sir, I rise to a point of Order.

සභාපතිතුමා

(தவிசாளர் அவர்கள்)

(The Chairman)

What is your point of Order?

ගරු (ආචාර්ය) සරත් වීරසේකර මහතා

(மாண்புமிகு (கலாநிதி)சரத் வீரசேகர)

(The Hon. (Dr.) Sarath Weerasekara)

A person of your calibre and stature should not give false information.

ගරු ආර්. සම්පන්දන් මහතා

(மாண்புமிகு ஆர். சம்பந்தன்)

(The Hon.  R.  Sampanthan)

Can the Government absolve itself from responsibility –

ගරු (ආචාර්ය) සරත් වීරසේකර මහතා

(மாண்புமிகு (கலாநிதி)சரத் வீரசேகர)

(The Hon. (Dr.) Sarath Weerasekara)

The army has not done that. Do not give false information. You are misleading the House and the public. Therefore, please do not give false information.

සභාපතිතුමා

(தவிசாளர் அவர்கள்)

(The Chairman)

Hon. Sampanthan, you carry on.

ගරු ආර්. සම්පන්දන් මහතා

(மாண்புமிகு ஆர். சம்பந்தன்)

(The Hon.  R.  Sampanthan)

Thank you, Sir.

Sir, I want to deal with a certain other question. That is the plight of civilians, particularly women, and civilian activities including IDPs – Internally Displaced People, their livelihood, their freedom of movement and the ability to lead a life with self-respect and dignity in the Northern and Eastern Provinces in the present militarized situation when discussing the Vote for the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.

I have been careful, Sir, in the course of whatever speech I made in Parliament about my comments in relation to the military. I am aware that it is a sensitive subject. I also aware that there are many young men who were involved. I must say that, perhaps, a very large number of them are well behaved disciplined people. Sometimes, when we keep them unnecessarily in a territory for our own political purposes, they might get a little confused with regard to their role, but left to themselves, they may be decent men, decent young men. But, there has been no question about it. There can also be a certain number of bad eggs. That could be quite a number, particularly if the military is sought  to be used, in a way in which they should not be used. That number can increase.

I propose to deal with this matter not by giving you the TNA view on some of these questions but we are referring to reports of independent institutions which interact with the Government and which the Government interacts with. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in a Report has stated, I quote:

“Key concerns Outlined and underpinning this updates Are as follows:

“Pervasive presence of the Military in all aspects of life engenders a feeling of insecurity with persistent monitoring, registration and harassment of IDP and returnee populations by state officials.

Continuing insecurity of women, particularly women-headed households and single women, and inadequate monitoring, prevention and response to Sexual and Gender Based Violence. (SGBV)

Arbitrary  displacement of IDPs due to continuing military appropriation and extrajudicial acquisition of private residential and farming lands. “

This is not what the TNA is saying. This is what the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is saying. I will gone on to the next comment that this organization has made.

“Using data collected by UNHCR’s survey, there is  evidence that formal obstacles on the part of the Government restrict returnees and IDP’s access to employment and livelihoods. Indeed, 18% of  respondents noted military involvement in farming or fishing – with the highest percentage coming from Kilinochchi (25%)  Mullaitivu (26%),  and Mannar (21%) . Although a lower amount of total respondents (6%) reported military involvement in commercial enterprises, 14% of respondents from Mullaitivu and 10% from Killinochchi reported their involvement in commercial activities.”

The military is involved in farming; the military is involved in fishing; the military is involved in commercial activities. This is having an impact on the livelihood of returnees. Can this be allowed? Must this continue? These are the questions we want to ask.

I  will move on to the next issue, Sir. The Report goes on to state, I quote from page 14:

As noted above, a significant percentage of respondents noted that the military was involved in farming, fishing and commercial activities – thus placing a de facto obstacle to accessing employment and livelihoods by returnees and IDPs. Furthermore, according to information provided to OCHA fishermen face major challenges, not only regarding the lack of capital and equipment to resume fishing activities and increasing weather-related problems but there remains some restrictions to accessing their traditional fishing areas in some districts. In some cases, it is alleged that fishermen from the South have unhindered access to the coast, unlike the local fishermen who have to comply with regulations and procedure. Indeed, UNHCR’s survey noted that 3% of respondents reported military restrictions as the major impediment to restoring their livelihood.”

Sir, this is a serious problem and this is why we say that this must not be looked at in a non-confrontational way. The Government should realize that if these people are to recommence their lives and lead a respectable life in these areas, there is a need, a compulsive need.- [Interruption.] Thank you very much for your great advice. There is a compulsive need, Sir, to tone down the extent of the oppressive military presence in the North.- [Interruption.]

ගරු අල්හාජ් ඒ.එච්.එම්. අස්වර් මහතා

(மாண்புமிகு அல்ஹாஜ் ஏ.எச்.எம். அஸ்வர்)

(The Hon. Alhaj A.H.M. Azwer)

Are you not defending your own fishermen in Jaffna? 

ගරු ආර්. සම්පන්දන් මහතා

(மாண்புமிகு ஆர். சம்பந்தன்)

(The Hon.  R.  Sampanthan)

This Report further goes on to state, Sir -[Interruption.] Oh, my goodness!- [Interruption.] Mr. Chairman, may I have your attention, please? Sir, may I be allowed to continue my speech?- [Interruption.] Please answer me later on, Hon. Members. There has to some etiquette in this House. Please answer me later on. Mr. Chairman, may I continue?

සභාපතිතුමා

(தவிசாளர் அவர்கள்)

(The Chairman)

Yes, please. You can continue. 

ගරු ආර්. සම්පන්දන් මහතා

(மாண்புமிகு ஆர். சம்பந்தன்)

(The Hon.  R.  Sampanthan)

The Report goes on to state, Sir, I further quote page 18:

“The Government of Sri Lanka should develop and offer a plan that ensures the reduction of the overall military presence in the Northern and Eastern Provinces to a level consistent with the security needs in a peace time territory in-line with the recommendations of the LLRC and as part of a credible efforts to ensure justice, equality, accountability and reconciliation.”

That is the position, Sir, insofar as the military is concerned. I will now read out some of the statements made by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees after a visit to Sri Lanka. She was again compelled to say, I quote:

“I was concerned to hear about the degree to which the military appears to be putting down roots and becoming involved in what should be civilian activities, for instance education, agriculture and even tourism. I also heard complaints about the acquisition of private land to build military camps and installations, including a holiday resort.”

I am very concerned to hear about the vulnerability of women and girls especially in female headed households to sexual harassment and abuse. I have raised this issue with several Ministers, the Provincial Governors and Senior Military Commanders who attended the meeting with the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.  I challenged them to rigorously enforce a zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse.

There are also complaints, Sir, in regard to INGOs not being permitted to carry on their work freely. The INGOs presently come under the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development. Civil society also expressed concerns about the transfer since April, 2010 of the registration audit and control functions of all NGOs countrywide to a Secretariat under the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and the High Commissioner urges the Government to move the NGO Secretariat under the purview of a civilian Ministry. She also encouraged the Government to remove restrictions and create space for NGO and civil society activity that would support rehabilitation and reconciliation particularly, in the psychosocial field and to consult with and empower communities to find appropriate forms of local and national commemoration and memorialization. So, even the INGOs are being restricted, Sir, and here, I have a very graphic document, a document released by the “Human Rights Watch”. I do not want to comment on this, Sir, at great length, but it has monitored sixty acts of sexual abuse of persons who have been in custody. Both at official detention centres and unofficial detention centres, where the victims had been interviewed; where medical evidence had been sought and where there is proof; incontrovertible proof, a period of time as a continuing process, Tamils are being sexually abused particularly, females, even males in detention centres. The document released by the “Human Rights Watch” in early 2013 puts the matter beyond doubt. I do not propose to read any part of that document but this is something that we must be aware of. This is not, Sir. What I have stated today is not the position of the TNA. If I stated it as my position, it would not be accepted, may not even be considered. But, I have placed it from documents which nobody can controvert, nobody can contradict and which must be accepted as being something that is indisputable. What is happening in Valikamam now? Temples are being destroyed. Houses are being destroyed. Schools are being destroyed. I had information that was happening in Kadduvan during the latter part of the last month. I telephoned His Excellency the President on 31st of October. I spoke to him at 9.00 a.m. in the morning. I told him, “This is happening in Valikamam, Kadduvan areas. I do not think you should permit this because after all these matters are before the court, we want to talk to you and bring about some amicable solutions to this question, I think this should be stopped.”  He listened to me and said, “I will try and have it stopped, but also kindly speak to Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, my Secretary and I will also speak to him.”  I spoke to Mr. Weeratunga. I spoke to him around 12 in the afternoon. He said he will definitely take action on the matter and he would get in touch with President himself. I spoke to him again at 5.00  in the evening.

I spoke to Mr. Lalith Weeratunga. He said that the President himself has spoken to General Hathurusinghe, the Army Commander in Jaffna and that he also had spoken to him, and that it will not happen again; it should not continue and if it happens, to please let him know. That was the assurance given to me. But, two days later, I spoke to them on a Thursday. On Saturday, 2nd of November, I was telephoned by people from Tellipala Hospital saying that in an adjoining village, Varuthalai Vilan, which they were able to see from the hospital, roofs of houses were being removed, doors and windows of houses were being removed and then the houses were being bulldozed. It is in defiance of  the President’s orders; it is in defiance of the orders of the Secretary to the President. Who is responsible for this? I telephoned Mr. Weeratunga – the person who gave me the assurance – and informed him  that it is happening right now; that I just got a call from Jaffna. Nadeshwara College was the name of the school that was destroyed there a few days ago.

An Amman temple was destroyed, a Pillayar temple was destroyed and a Naga Tambiran temple was destroyed. Three temples were destroyed. I do not know who is doing this. I am not threatening anyone. But, I am only cautioning everyone that our deities are very powerful deities, and this may not be a good thing for you to do.

සභාපතිතුමා

(தவிசாளர் அவர்கள்)

(The Chairman)

Hon. Member, please wind up now.

ගරු ආර්. සම්පන්දන් මහතා

(மாண்புமிகு ஆர். சம்பந்தன்)

(The Hon.  R.  Sampanthan)

Sir, I am winding up. Please kindly give me another three minutes. I will wind up. [Interruption.]

සභාපතිතුමා

(தவிசாளர் அவர்கள்)

(The Chairman)

Please do not disturb him.

ගරු ආර්. සම්පන්දන් මහතා

(மாண்புமிகு ஆர். சம்பந்தன்)

(The Hon.  R.  Sampanthan) 

I have got information now, Sir, how Nadeshwara College and a house opposite it were bulldozed yesterday. They found gold there in the premises of this house. Apparently, a person who is not there now had buried the gold there in his foundation thinking that it will be safe. It appears the gold has been taken away.

ගරු මන්ත්‍රීවරයෙක්

(மாண்புமிகு உறுப்பினர் ஒருவர்)

(An Hon. Member)

By whom?

ගරු ආර්. සම්පන්දන් මහතා

(மாண்புமிகு ஆர். சம்பந்தன்)

(The Hon.  R.  Sampanthan)

“Somebody has gone in a helicopter”, I am told. The gold has been taken in a helicopter. So, I do not think, Sir, these are good things. I do not think these things should be allowed to happen. I heard many people talk about the TNA today. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to deal with all that. But, you have much more to do with the LTTE than me. I do not know who KP is. I have not seen him. But, he is your buddy. There is a Minister in your Cabinet who has been referred to the LLRC Report in regard to something that happened in Batticaloa sometime ago. You had the former Chief Minister in the Eastern Province who did not win this time. You made him win.  I have nothing to do with the LTTE. You have a lot to do with them. Can you deny the fact that the LTTE influenced the election verdict in your favour in December, 2005? Can you deny that? So, please do not throw stones at us. We have nothing to do with the LTTE. We worked with them to bring about a political solution when we needed to work with them, but beyond that we never had any talk with the LTTE. I want to say that on the Floor of this House, and I want everyone of you to get that very clearly, that you have much more to do with the LTTE than I have or that we have.

Thank you, Sir.

* Speech made in 3rd December 2013

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