Lanka to ease 1983 emergency regulations

Lanka announces it would ease its wartime emergency regulations introduced in 1983, including restriction on holding public meetings and publishing inflammatory literature.

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

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.


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