File photo of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. Photograph:( Reuters )
Sri Lankan police chief Pujith Jayasundera said on Wednesday that he was taking orders from President Maithripala Sirisena and he was not in a position to take orders from the law and order minister of ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Jayasundera was responding to a letter sent to him by Ranjith Madduma Bandara, the Wickremesinghe government's law and order minister, who had directed that all ministers who were in office before October 26 be provided police security.
Jayasundera said that the Ministerial Security could only be provided on the recommendations of President Sirisena. He added that it could not be provided based on requests made by Ministers or other officials.
President Sirisena on October 26 sacked Wickremesinghe as the prime minister and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, triggering a constitutional crisis in the island.
Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Monday slammed Sirisena's "unconstitutional and undemocratic" actions to sack Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and suspend Parliament, saying he will not recognise Rajapaksa as the new premier unless he wins a floor test.
Madduma Bandara had written to Jayasundera following Jayasuriya's recognition of the Wickremesinghe government.
Several MPs of Wickremesinghe's camp have also requested the police chief to provide them with Ministerial Security, saying they were still ministers of the government.
Rajapaksa needs 113 seats in the 225-member assembly to prove simple majority.
In a setback to President Sirisena, deputy minister Manusha Nanayakkara of his United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government resigned Tuesday and backed ousted prime minister Wickremesinghe in the ongoing political crisis.
Nanayakkara's defection came hours after Sirisena announced publicly that people should not doubt his majority - 113 in the 225-member legislature.
Meanwhile, the main Tamil party - Tamil National Alliance - said Sirisena met the party leaders this morning to urge them to change their stance of opposing the Rajapaksa appointment.
The TNA leader MA Sumanthiran said they told Sirisena that their stance stood and there will be no reversal.
The party also urged Sirisena to reconvene parliament at an earlier date than the scheduled November 14. Sirisena said their request would be considered.