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Counter Terrorism Bill a farce - JVP

The Counter Terrorism Bill is a mere farce of the Government, hindering the democratic rights of the public, JVP Propaganda Secretary, Vijitha Herath claimed yesterday (25).

Speaking at a Media briefing, he said the Government was merely amending the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) only to add much adverse provisions in its place through the said Bill.

Explaining the Party’s stance, he further said the PTA should be abolished as it suppresses the public.

MP Herath illustrated a few sections in the Bill, indicating its alleged adverse impact on the public’s right to protest. Accordingly, he alleged that the Bill provides that trade union actions which disrupt essential services could be deemed as acts of terrorism.

Moreover, Section 62 of the Bill states that an officer not below the rank of a Senior Superintendent of Police has the power to make orders, preventing an assembly of a rally, meeting or parade occurring at a definite place.

He claimed that Section 81 of the Bill also provides that the Minister of Law and Order could suspend an organization from hosting meetings, activities and programmes for a period of one year. “Accordingly, the Minister has the power to even suspend a Media institution or an anti-Government movement in an arbitrary manner,” he further claimed. Further, he alleged that violating the privacy of citizens, the Police will be given the power to wire-tap and listen in on conversations.

He said that the JVP urges the Government to do away with these laws and emphasized that there is no need for both the PTA and the new Act which alleviates the rights of the public noting that the general law of the country could serve these purposes.

“The public is unaware of this Bill’s contents therefore the JVP is educating them. We also hope that civil society organizations, professionals, intellectuals and MPs will equally oppose this Act,” MP Herath concluded.

(Ceylon Today)

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