By Skandha Gunasekara
Eleven Muslim MPs led by Commerce and Industry Minister Rishard Bathiudeen sat in the Well of the House yesterday demanding the Government take actions to protect Muslims.
The demonstration was staged during an adjournment debate on the current situation in the country in the aftermath of the Sinhala-Muslim clashes.
Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faizer Mustapha was delivering a speech when the demonstration took place.
MPs Bathuideen, H. M. Hariz, Ameer Ali, Faizal Casim, Muibur Rahuman, M. Thowfeeq, Imran Mahroof, Ishak Rahman, M. N. Mansoor, A. L. Nazeer and M. Navavi went down to the Well and sat in protest.
Presiding Member at the time was Deputy Chairman of Committees Selvan Adaikkilanathan. However, as soon as the demonstration started, Speaker Karu Jayasuria arrived and took the Chair.
“The Members could go back to their seats. Otherwise, I will have to stop this debate and suspend sittings. The debate is of importance to you all. Do not disrupt the debate,” the Speaker warned.
Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella then assured the demonstrating MPs that all measures were being taken by the Government to resolve the situation.
“We are conducting investigations into this incident. Also, the Cabinet of Ministers have decided to declare a State of Emergency.”
The protesting MPs then went back to their seats.