‘Govt back-pedals undertaking given to Tamils’ | Sunday Observer

‘Govt back-pedals undertaking given to Tamils’

TNA MP, M. A Sumanthiran vehemently rejected the policy and legal framework of the proposed Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) which was placed before Cabinet for approval, last week and said

that they will object to any Bill if and when it is placed before Parliament.

The MP told the Sunday Observer that this framework shows the government’s intention to back-pedal on the undertaking given to them previously. The main concern the

TNA MP voiced was the definition given to ‘terrorism’ and the vast number of acts and omissions that would amount to an act of terrorism. He said that although the Parliamentary Oversight Committee appointed to look into the matter had agreed to adopt the definition attributed to the word by the United Nation Working Group, it had not been done.

“This has also been dropped in the final draft that was rushed through the Cabinet. It’s difficult to see why this is being pushed for by the Government, and we will definitely oppose this,” Sumanthiran said. Meanwhile, JVP MP, Vijitha Herath said that if such draft has received Cabinet nod they will object to it at the oversight committee stage. “We have always held the view that the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) should be repealed immediately. That doesn’t mean that provisions of the PTA should be rehashed in a new Act. We have not been able to study the second draft of the legal framework as yet; however, we will not agree to accommodate provisions that already exist in the PTA or anything worse than what was under the PTA. It will negate what we try to achieve in repealing the PTA,” Herath said.

He said that several commendable changes were also introduced relating to confessions. Under the previous law, where a confession made before Assistant Superintendent of Police was admissible while the new law has done away with it.