Altercation in House over students’ lunches
An intense argument erupted in the House as the Government denied the recent news story that a student in the Minuwangoda area brought coconut kernel for lunch. The attention of the House was drawn to the matter as SLPP Anuradhapura district MP K.P.S. Kumarasiri, citing this incident, requested the Government to provide an immediate solution to the food shortage suffered by the students.
“Twenty-one students in three schools in Vilachchiya have fainted due to lack of food. The three schools are Vilachchiya Siddhartha Maha Vidyalaya, Kimbulawewa Ananda Vidyalaya and Kimbulawewa Gamini Vidyalaya. I spoke to the principals of these schools. Don’t take this matter as a joke,” MP Kumarasiri said.
Responding to MP Kumarasiri, Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella denied the news and pointed out that the said principal of the school too refuted the story. “We know that there is a food crisis and students are suffering. However this said incident is a fake. I spoke to the principal of this school.” Minister Rambukwella then attempted to play a recorded call on his microphone where the principal was talking about the incident. Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena told the Minister that it is against the rules of the House to play such an audio clip in the Chamber. Minister Rambukwella promised that he would look into the issue in Vilachchiya.
Speaking on the same subject, Chief Government Whip Prasanna Ranatunga observed that he too spoke to the principal of the school in Minuwangoda and received the confirmation that the said incident was untrue. Minister Ranatunga said that fake news like this would instigate violence among the people. Minister Ranatunga also said that he had attempted to inquire about the matter from the correspondent who reported the story.
Kurunegala district MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa pointed out that the Government needs to accept the fact that there is a serious food crisis in the country. “First, we need to accept the issue and then prepare a plan to find a solution for it.” In reply Minister Rambukwella said, “Yes, we do agree. But we cannot give space to fake news like this. The Minuwangoda incident is a hoax.” MP Dullas Alahapperuma pointed out that the Government has failed to supply a meal to one-fourth of the students in the country.