Lanka to ease 1983 emergency regulations
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 04, 2010, 19:08
Colombo: Sri Lanka today announced it would ease its wartime emergency regulations introduced in 1983, including restriction on holding public meetings and publishing literature considered inflammatory by authorities, nearly a year after its security forces defeated the LTTE.

Participating in a debate on a proposal to extend the state of emergency by a further month, External Affairs Minister G L Peiris said there cannot be "a wholesale lifting" of the emergency and it will be done gradually.

The minister said the regulations regarding restriction on holding public meetings and gatherings, printing certain literature and providing the householder's names to the police would be relaxed as also those relating to imposition of curfew.

He also said that police powers vested with the armed forces would also be taken away under the changes that are expected to be approved tomorrow by Parliament.

Though several regulations are being removed from the emergency laws, nothing new has been added to the act to prevent terrorism, Pieris said.

The emergency regulations have enabled conclusion of operation against terrorists successfully, he said.

Sri Lanka has been under emergency rule for the most part of the past three decades, with the last phase of the tough law enforced in 2005 after the assassination of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar by suspected LTTE snipers.

Meanwhile, newly-appointed Prime Minister D M Jayaratne said the state of emergency will be used only to protect the citizens' rights and not to obstruct the state's security.

Some have forgotten the "terror period" in the country during the past, Jayaratne said, referring to the LTTE which was defeated by security forces in May last year.

He also announced setting up of a 'Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission' with the objective of forging closer cooperation among various communities of the society in the island nation.

The Prime Minister said that during the last stage of the Eelam IV war, 2.8 lakh civilians were freed from the "terrorist areas." Out of them, 11,700 were LTTE members.

The government has implemented a systematic plan to bring them into the mainstream of the society, Jayaratne said, adding more than 2,400 LTTE members have been rehabilitated till now.

Information has been received that some LTTE members are reorganising themselves internationally to raise their heads again, Jayaratne warned and said action will be taken to eliminate such networks with the help of intelligence sources.


First Published: Tuesday, May 04, 2010, 19:08

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