Lawmakers hurt in fisticuffs inside Sri Lanka parly

2016-05-03 20:28


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Colombo - Several lawmakers were injured in fisticuffs inside Sri Lanka's parliament on Tuesday after a protest over the removal of military security for former President Mahinda Rajapakasa. One lawmaker was hospitalised.

The fracas occurred after the session commenced following an argument between opposition and government lawmakers over the removal of army soldiers from the security of the former president. Rajapaksa lost his bid for re-election last year to his former health minister, but was later elected as a lawmaker.

An official at the Colombo National Hospital where the lawmaker is receiving treatment said his condition is not critical. He is being treated for minor injuries and is under supervision. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity, as she is not authorised to speak to the media.

It wasn't clear how many other people were hurt, but the other injuries were largely minor.

Opposition members who protested inside parliament urged the government to reinstate the army security, saying Rajapksa is under threat for leading the military when it ended Sri Lanka's long civil war. The government said a security council decided to deploy only police officers, not soldiers, for the security of lawmakers.

Rajapaksa was the president when the war ended in 2009 with government forces crushing the Tamil Tiger rebels, who fought to create a separate state for the ethnic minority Tamils.

After the fisticuffs, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya ordered the deputy speaker, Thilanga Sumathipala, to investigate the matter and promised to take action against the lawmakers responsible.

Jayasuriya condemned the fight, saying it dealt a severe blow to the parliament's reputation.

The security issue was raised in Parliament by opposition lawmaker Dinesh Gunawardena who said Rajapaksa faces threats as remnants of Tamil rebels are hell-bent to avenge their losses and urged the government to reverse its decision.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the government is prepared to increase the number of police officers in the former president's security detail if Rajapaksa asks.

Read more on:    sri lanka

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