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Mangala says 63 lakhs of people voted for new constitution

Sri Lanka's finance minister Mangala Samaraweera rejected a statement by the former commander of the security forces in the Vanni, that those supporting the new constitution were traitors and should be killed, stating that 63 lakhs of people had voted in favour of a new constitution. 

"At a recent event held under the patronage of former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa recently, under the banner of “viyathmaga”, a former military officer has said that anyone supporting a new Constitution for the country should be killed. Recalling the 88-89 era of terror, he had gone on to say that this should be done using the label “death to traitors”, and that this label should be tattooed on people before they are executed, and that the remains of those who are thus killed should not be raised above the knee-level of the pall-bearers. He adds that that the remains of those executed should not be shown any respect that is traditionally shown to the dead in our country,” Mr Samaraweera was quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying. 

“He has made this terrifying statement despite the fact that 63 lakhs of voters in this country, in 2015, asserted victoriously, that a new constitution must be instituted in this country, for achieving sustainable peace, stability, reconciliation, and prosperity in our nation."

"Over 62 lakhs of people in this country called for a new constitution in order to ensure that such a dangerous era of terror would not be unleashed on our country again. Such ruthless leaders were defeated and rejected by the people because the people of this country have experienced, and are well aware of the dangerous and fearful nature of such authoritarian leadership. Therefore, it is not necessary to give them another opportunity.

We are committed to take all necessary steps to establish sustainable peace and reconciliation in our country. We are committed to ensure that no power-hungry ruthless forces derail the democratic path that we tread to realize the vision of a peaceful, stable, reconciled and prosperous Sri Lanka.

Similarly, I stress that we are prepared, determined and committed to join hands with all the progressive and peace-loving people of our country, to once again defeat the blood-thirsty, ruthless forces to ensure the preservation of democracy and human values in our country."