BY Buddhika Samaraweera
Noting that an intelligent and disciplined group of young people pioneered the people’s struggle or “aragalaya”, which demanded the resignation of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his Government, the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) claimed however, that a few inappropriate people who joined it later disrupted the movement and caused violence.
Speaking to The Morning, NMSJ Chairman Karu Jayasuriya said: “The youngsters who started the struggle wanted to create a society with justice and fairness. A very intelligent and disciplined group of young people were instrumental in driving out an unjust regime and this no political party or civil society could achieve. They had reasonable demands, but of late, a few persons disturbed this movement and created violence.”
Recalling that the NMSJ has been working very closely with many groups involved in the struggle, Jayasuriya, who is also a former Speaker of Parliament, said that the NMSJ however cannot approve of the killing and harassing of people’s representatives (MPs), burning their houses, and damaging other properties.
Meanwhile, emphasising that the Security Forces including the Police have a great responsibility in moving the country which is currently in a state of crisis forward, he said that the Security Forces should ensure that they avoid treating the people in a violent manner.
“We definitely need the support of the international community to move the country forward and the Government should work to earn it. Here, the Security Forces including the Police have a great responsibility. In particular, we have had reports of them harassing innocent youths. Officials should realise that incidents like this cause a lot of damage to the Government’s reputation internationally,” he added.
He further mentioned that every party involved in politics should think about the future of the country without hatred towards any party. He also said that all parties should put aside all differences and unite in order to overcome the huge economic crisis that the country is currently facing. He said that in order to be united in that way, the doubts and anger in everyone should be discarded.
“At this unfortunate time when the country has been destroyed, it is our strong belief that if we can put aside our differences and join hands, we can save the country. We still do not see that unity in Parliament. We are appealing to everyone including the Head of State at this time for a peaceful and harmonious programme. Let’s think about the next generation and find a solution to this crisis through Parliament,” added Jayasuriya.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe had recently approached the NMSJ led by Jayasuriya, seeking its support for strengthening the Sectoral Oversight Committees (SOCs) of Parliament. A discussion was also held between Wickremesinghe, who was the Prime Minister at that time, and Jayasuriya. Following the discussion, Jayasuriya said that the NMSJ had already handed over a set of proposals with regard to the SOCs to Parliament.