The deposed UNP after getting totally beaten by the pro-people maiden budget of the Freedom Alliance government, since it offered no valid grounds for criticism, has taken up the issue of the convict S.B.Dissanayake to drum up life-blood to save itself from probable oblivion, and to display a born-again charade. This is not the first time the deceptive UNP had shown disrespect to the rulings of the judiciary and tried to undermine justice. The rally organized by the UNP for the jailbird Dissanayake is nothing more than a canine show of the watchdogs of the capitalist class and its bootlickers to safeguard and promote its vested interests.

S.B.Dissanayake, who faced a charge on Contempt of Court for the second time, admitted his guilt and accordingly the learned judges delivered the verdict convicting him for two years rigorous imprisonment. This charge was based on a controversial speech delivered by him as a UNP Minister at a State Ceremony held at Habaraduwa which had its official audio-visual recordings. The first charge against him on Contempt of Court was based on a similar speech made by him while he was a PA Minister and since it was the first such occasion he was strongly warned by the Court against repeating such offences.

At the time of first incident Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe was furious on the behaviour of Dissanayake and posing as a champion of justice said in Parliament on 3rd March, 2000 that “in Malaysia MPs have been jailed for lesser offences against judiciary and in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s time, a Minister had to resign his post following a defamatory remarks about the Attorney General of Scotland.” The same champion of justice addressing the UNP rally at Hyde Park has said “ the Supreme Court judgment not only affects S.B.Dissanayake but also the freedom of expression of human beings in the country and it had affected the fundamental rights of the people”.

The UNP has a long and bitter history of disrespecting justice and judiciary, and infringing the fundamental rights of the people, and has no moral right to speak on this subject. Although the 1978 constitution was the creation of the UNP itself, the first amendment to this self-imposed constitution was to change the power of the Court of Appeal to thwart an appeal by Mrs. Bandaranaike challenging the authority of the Special Presidential Commission. Similarly the 2nd, 3rd and 4th amendments to the Constitution were aimed at infringing the fundamental rights of the people, viz, barring only opposition MPs the right to crossover, facilitate the President to call for a mandate at any time (convenient to him) to hold office for another term of office, empower the Parliament to continue until August 1989.

The so-called (A)Dharmishta UNP government of 1977-1994 enacted Parliamentary Elections Act No. 1 of 1981 and the Development Councils Act of 1981 to prohibit house-to-house canvassing for votes and instead allowed only recognized political parties to use state-owned mass media. Similar repressive measures were taken against trade unions ad newspapers that carried the views of the people against the government. In July 1980, infringing the fundamental trade union rights of the workers, over 50,000 workers were dismissed for demanding a pay hike of a mere Rs. 300 a month.

When the Supreme Court indicted in 1983 the pro-UNP Sub Inspector of the Kollupitiya Police for violating the fundamental rights of Mrs. Vivienne Gunawardene, UNP thugs transported by CTB buses staged unruly demonstrations in front of the residences of the three judges and hurled stones. Complaints made direct to the President by the three victimized judges only resulted in offering a promotion to the convicted Police Inspector.

The bogus human rights champion Ranil Wickremasinghe’s close associate the notorious Gonawela Sunil from Biyagama was convicted by the High Court of Colombo for 8 years rigorous imprisonment on a charge of rape. Despite this judgment being upheld by the Court of Appeal, he was released in 4 months time on a general amnesty, reinstated in his job and was made a Justice of the Peace for the entire country.

The injustices done to the JVP and its followers by the UNP surpass all known records of political oppression in the world. Its application to register as a political party to contest the 1979 local government elections was rejected. Since then, to curb the growth of its activities and instill fear in its members, meetings were disrupted by UNP thugs, houses were raided by the Police and Party supporters were arrested on concocted charges and beaten. Frightened by the exemplary results obtained by the party candidates in all districts in the District Development Council elections, the UNP leadership waited for an opportunity to unleash a campaign of State Terror on the party.

Wanton acts carried out by its own thugs led by its own Ministers, against the Tamil community throughout the country in 1983 gave the green-light to incriminate the JVP for these acts and ban the party. Along with this ban, the so-called protectors of human rights and upholders of justice, launched Sri Lanka’s darkest epoch of the “Reign of Terror” and entrusted the contract of killing JVP members, sympathizers and those who did not toe the anti-national policies of the UNP to highly paid State Terror Groups such as “PRAA”, “Black Cats”, “Eagles” etc. Those who played leading roles and helped these State Terror Groups in the massacre of innocent masses are still among the leadership of the UNP. Unfortunately Sri Lanka lost around 60,000 dedicated youth who could have played a great role in rebuilding the nation. Details of these massacres, fear instilled in the people, suppression of human rights and freedom of expression need no elaboration as eminent Authors have written many volumes on this.

Even during the two years of treachery under Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe freedom of expression was denied and publication of reports contrary to the government’s views on the so-called peace façade were suppressed by the media units operated under the Prime Minister and some other powerful Ministers. Personal interference by the Prime Minister to prevent publication of a joint statement issued by Buddhist clergy against the peace-façade is a case in point. British journalist Paul Harris was deported for the crime of criticizing the peace-façade.

The stand taken by the Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddharta Sumangala Mahanayake Thero on the S.B.Dissanayake issue is commendable and exemplary. He has refused to sign a petition requesting for the release of Dissanayake and has pointed out that it is not desirable to make such an influence to the judiciary. He has explained that a decision taken by the highest seat of the judiciary in this land should be respected and all should abide by the laws of the country.

S.B.Dissanayake canine show staged by the UNP signifies its political bankruptcy. Expectations from a political party in the opposition under a democratic setup are to address the issues that may affect the people. Everyone knows the characteristics of SB Dissanayake. He has been served notice to appear before the Colombo High Court on January 28, 2005 for failing to account for his cash and wealth amounting to Rs. 39 million amassed between 1995 and 2001. UNP’s agitation against the Court ruling clearly indicates that it is a party that represents and protects rogues and culprits and not the common masses.



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