President Ranil Wickremesinghe is failing in all of his attempts to keep power with the Rajapaksas’ support, as the people of the north have now united with their southern counterparts in the movement to repeal the draconian law PTA, according to Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran.
MP Sumanthiran, who was among a number of opposition lawmakers and civil society activists who attended the gathering to collect signatures for a mobile campaign in Galle Face, stated today that the people have gained a major victory over the corrupt authorities.
“The harsh Prevention of Terrorism Act was adopted in 1979 as a six-month temporary provisions act, but it remained in force for four decades, allowing reigning administrations to utilise it against dissidents.”
It is a win because this battle, which began in the north by oppressed people during wartime, has managed to join with the people in the south as the current authorities use it to quiet civil activists in Galle Face Aragalaya who are working for a better democratic system,” he said.
Human rights lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah, who was jailed under the PTA for more than 90 days, said he saw how suspects detained beside him were handled with harshness and tortured during interrogation.
“It is past time for people to band together to oppose this barbaric law, which has always been used to suppress anyone who challenge the government,” he said.
From Kankesanthurai on September 10, the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) Youth Front and Justice for All launched a countrywide signature drive, which arrived in Colombo today afternoon, where signatures were collected from the public and other interested parties at the Galle Face Green.
The campaign, which is set to extend further south to Hambantota, is projected to collect more than one million signatures, with approximately 500,000 already received, according to an organiser.
Parliamentarians Eran Wickramaratne, Mujibur Rahuman, Hirunika Premachandra, Shanakiyan Rasamanickam, Rauff Hakeem, and Tissa Attanayake were there, as were social activists Pubudu Jagoda, Dharmasiri Lankapeli, and Joseph Stalin, as well as artists.
Former Defense Secretary Austin Fernando was the first to sign.