Opposition condemns move to quarantine those involved in protests

Opposition Lawmakers in Sri Lanka have strongly condemned the forced quarantine of trade union activists who were arrested on Thursday (08) following multiple protests in Colombo.

UNP National List MP Ranil Wickremesinghe has called on the government to inquire into the incident surrounding the arrests of trade union activists during protests on Thursday (08).

He said it is a person’s fundamental right to assemble while the state cannot force a person to be taken away to areas like Mullaithivu to undergo quarantine as per the quarantine law.

‘The quarantine laws must be prepared in accordance with the fundamental rights of the people,’ he said.

Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd) Dr. Sarath Weerasekara said in Parliament today that it is the Director General of Health Services who instructed Sri Lanka Police to proscribe meetings and protests, as per the quarantine law.

‘No matter one’s position, if protests and meetings are organized arrests will be made,’ he told the Parliament.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa told the house that Sri Lanka Police is not the competent authority in enforcing the quarantine laws.

‘The Director-General of Health Services is the competent authority to enforce the quarantine law and not the police,’ he stressed.

He slammed Sri Lanka Police for taking away people from court premises for quarantine after they were granted bail by the court, adding that no PHI was present to confirm that they needed to be quarantined.

‘There is no law in this country if Sri Lanka Police is taking the powers of the Director-General of Health Services,’ he said.

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake alleged the quarantine law is being used to forcefully abduct the common man.

‘Some women are wearing torn clothes while you showed affection to others,’ Dissanayake said taking a swing at the Public Security Minister.

Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd) Dr. Sarath Weerasekara said the necessary essentials were given to those who were taken away for quarantine.

‘We will not stop arresting people who protest and attend meetings,’ he said.

The Opposition Leader also took a swing at the Minister confirming that there were no PHIs or health officials present at the court premises.

He questioned if the quarantine laws do not apply to the celebrations that take place after one person is sworn in.

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake also told the Public Security Minister that the law is not something that pops up in his head.