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Worst fisticuffs in parliament since 2004

The Parliament2063 house adjourned following tense situation injured mp hospitalized1543980727 erupted in brawls between rival lawmakers yesterday after ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka announced that a bomb blast apparently targeting Gotabhaya Rajapaksa 10 years ago was an "inside job".

MPs from

the ruling party traded blows with those loyal to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa who became enraged after Fonseka said the 2006 bombing was aimed at winning sympathy for the then-ruling family.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said several lawmakers were injured and MP Sandith Samarasinghe was later taken to hospital suffering a black eye after the worst melee seen in the legislature house in 12 years.

In June 2004, the then-government MPs led by Mervyn Silva attcked JHU Buddhist monk MP Kolonnawe Sumangala who suffered a serious penile injury and was hospitalised for days.

Following Tuesday's fighting, the Speaker adjourned the assembly till today.

"I am deeply saddened by the behaviour of MPs in storming the well of the House and attacking each other, while Field Marshall Fonseka was explaining (security arrangements for Rajapaksa)," said Jayasuriya, who was forced to suspend proceedings for the day.

Fonseka said the December 2006 bomb attack blamed on separatist Tamil Tiger rebels had been stage managed by the president's brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the then defence secretary.

"No terrorist will set off a suicide bomb 25 meters away from the intended target," Fonseka told parliament during a debate on scaling down military security granted to the former strongman leader. "The terrorists are not fools."

The government has said it is removing troops in Rajapaksa's bodyguard and replacing them with police commandos as part of a policy of relieving the military from civilian security duties.


-EN-

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