Sri Lankan government blames opposition parties for instigating violence over fuel price hike

Feb 18, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government today said it is ready to provide concessions to the communities aggrieved by the recent fuel price hike and blamed the opposition parties for misleading the public and instigating violence for their political gains.

The government says certain political parties and a non-governmental organization (NGO), not connected to the issue, are misleading the fishing community and attempting to take advantage from the prevailing situation by instigating the people for demonstrations and violence.

Deputy Minister of Public Resources and Enterprises Development Sarath Kumara Gunaratne has accused both main opposition political parties UNP and JVP for the protests held by the fishermen in the northwestern coastal town of Chilaw last Wednesday.

Fishermen from the South or North have not joined the protests against the fuel price hike that went into effect last Sunday raising the diesel prices 37 percent and kerosene prices by 49 percent, both fuel the fishermen use.

The President and the government are ready to provide further solutions to the problems of the fishing community through discussions, the Deputy Minister who represents the fishing area of Negombo, has said.

The government officials with the involvement of the country’s Christian religious leaders had discussions with the fishermen community in the northwestern coastal belt from Negombo to Chilaw.

Following discussions the fishermen have agreed to the government’s concessions until the fuel prices drop in the world market, Senior Minister Milroy Fernando has said.

According to Deputy Minister Gunaratne, the Ministry of Economic Development has issued a circular for unlimited distribution of the fuel concession to all fishermen through identified distributors. All fisheries associations have been called and cards are being issued to provide the concession.

The Deputy Minister extended his gratitude to the Christian clergy in the Negombo and Chilaw areas for maintaining a peaceful situation currently.

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