By Indika Sri Aravinda
The State Intelligence Service (SIS) is monitoring the movements of some political parties and groups supportive of the government as well as two Cabinet Ministers namely Champika Ranawaka and Wimal Weerawansa, intelligence sources said.
Among those under the scanner is the Patriotic National Movement (PNM), National Freedom Front (NFF) of which Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Wimal Weerawanse is a member and the Jathika Hela Urumaya, of which Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawake is a member.
JHU Chairman, the venerable Athureliya Ratana Thero, who had recently spoken against the government on the presence of arsenic in pesticides, is also being closely watched.
The State Intelligence Service has received orders from the “top” to monitor the statements being made by these Ministers and party officials in public, demonstrations they organize and the internal meetings of those political groups, well informed intelligence sources said.
The reason that these cabinet Ministers and pro-government groups and political parties have been placed under the scanner is because they have begun to make statements against the government in public.
“Even though these people are supportive of the government or are in the government they are being monitored on the basis that they may make statements to discredit the government,” intelligence sources speaking strictly on conditions of anonymity told The Sunday Leader.
When contacted by The Sunday Leader PNM General Secretary Dr. Wasantha Bandara said he is aware his organization is indeed being monitored.
He also said that some of their telephone lines are being tapped to keep a tab on the conversations they have. Bandara however said that the PNM is not critical about the government as a whole but only on selected issues.
“There is no conspiracy by us. We are only being critical of what should be criticized. We know the government is monitoring us and for that we will speak out even more,” Bandara said.
Minister Champika Ranawaka said he was not aware of his movements or speeches being monitored by intelligence officers.
The Minister told The Sunday Leader that such close scrutiny is not needed as his party is not against the government but only criticizes some policies or decisions.
JHU media spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe too said he was not aware of his party or party members being monitored. But he stressed the JHU had no issues on being closely watched by the government, if that is the case.
The Sunday Leader attempted to contact the SIS Director Chandra Wakista but he could not be reached for a comment.
The Director General of Media at the President’s office Bandula Jayasekera, when contacted by The Sunday Leader for a comment, said he was not aware of such a thing and so could not comment.