Jaffna parliamentarian C.V. Wigneswaran criticised President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's imposition of emergency on the island and called it an attempt to pre-empt the people from “rising up” against him. “This is a crucial step towards totalitarianism,” he added.
Wigneswaran said that the COVID-19 pandemic is a pretext for the emergency and suggested that, instead of invoking such a law, the president should’ve passed a disaster relief legislation.
“A working committee should have been formed under it and actions should have been taken according to expert medical advice. The President faltered on this from the very beginning,” the MP said.
Wigneswaran went on to list what he considered as Rajapaksa’s mistakes in the handling of the pandemic, which included the following;
Failing to set up a disaster relief working group;
Failing to control COVID-19 on the basis of department experts;
Deploying the army, which uses weapons to kill the people, to control COVID; and
Imposing emergency on the pretext of COVID, laying the foundation for totalitarianism.
The Tamil MP stressed that already the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) is in place and the army has been deployed everywhere to contain another wave of coronavirus.
“Sensing that people are getting ready to rise up against him, he has imposed emergency to constrain them,” Wigneswaran said of Rajapaksa.
He also noted that, with the invocation of emergency, the Sinhalese people will also understand what militarisation means.