Death penalty against drug traffickers to stay – President

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena

(Photo Credit: REUTERS / Dinuka Liyanawatte)

The programme to eradicate drug racketeering conducted during the last four years will be accelerated with a new orientation from next week.

The dicision taken by the Government to impose the death penalty on drug racketeers will not be changed at any cost, President Maithripala Sirisena said.

The President announced this addressing the gathering when he launched the National Schools Drug Eradication Week at a ceremony at Mulliyawalai Vidyananda Vidyalaya, Mullaitivu yesterday. During this ceremony, the President also introduced a free Telephone Hotline (No. 1984) for people to make complaints against drug racketeering and organised crime.

President Sirisena said the government of the Philippines has promised assistance to Sri Lanka in its fight against illicit drug trafficking following a request made by him during his recent four day official visit to that country.

Accordingly, a team of specialists from Philippines would arrive in Sri Lanka shortly to provide technological advice in this direction.

The President said the Philippines which was devasted due to the drug menace had today overcome all challenges and achieved much development due to the sound policy and programme adopted by its President. President Sirisena said that even though he would not go to the extremes of enacting all measures adopted in this direction by the Philippines’ President, he would not bow down to NGO pressure and relent on strong measures taken against racketeers involved in the illicit drug trade. He said certain NGOs which opposed harsh measures against drug traffickers did not pay attention to the destruction caused by this menace to the nation and the future generation.

The President said he would divulge the names and other details of not only drug racketeers but also other parties who were behind them.

The Natioal Drug Eradication Week will be implemented from January 21 to 28. The Drug Eradication Week in schools which is part and parcel of this programme will be implemented from January 21 to 25.

At the inauguration ceremony held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at Mallaitivu Mulliyawalai Vidyanandan Maha Vidyalaya, 150,000 students from schools in the Jaffna district who attended the morning Assembly jointly took the drug eradication oath.

A press release by the President’s Media Division said during the drug eradication week in schools, awareness programmes for students would be conducted in the class rooms on January 21 and January 22. Parents too would be instructed to join their school children at school for the awareness programmes.

On January 25 drug eradications messages would be published in schools and outside using the mass media while January 26 has been set aside for drug eradication programmes of voluntary organisations.Eradication programmes would be conducted through places of worship and Daham Pasalas on January 27.

The President had said that schoolchildren were the best messengers to take the drug eradication message to society and as such school children should be actively engaged within schools for this programme.

Earlier, the President planted a sapling at Vidyanandan Maha Vidyalaya grounds to mark his visit. Documents relating to the release of 264 acres of state and private lands occupied by the Army and 1,099 acres of land belonging to government owned farms to the people concerned were handed over to the President by Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake and the President in turn handed them over to the respective District Secretaries for necessary action.

Ministers Daya Gamage and Rishad Bathiudeen, Northern Province Governor Dr.Suren Raghavan, SLFP General Secretary Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekara Parliamentarians Anugjan Ramanathen and Cader Masthan, several other peoples representatives in the region District Secretaries and other officials, Service Chiefs and the IGP were also present on the occasion.

(Source: Daily News)