Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa wants to know the reason for the hunting down and imprisoning of trade union leaders like Joseph Stalin for staging peaceful protests, while Mahinda Rajapaksa lives freely despite his having fathered the prevailing violent repression.

Premadasa was speaking to journalists today (04) after visiting the TU leader presently under arrest by Colombo Fort police.

He condemned the political witch-hunt that prevails at a time when consideration should be given in the name of humanity and for the country, and demanded the government immediately halts state-sponsored terrorism.

The opposition leader recalled that Ranil Wickremesinghe as an MP had warned about a loss of the GSP+ facility had Stalin been arrested, and questioned the current president as to whether that could be possible now.

Problems should be resolved not through weapons, but through negotiations and consensus, he stressed.

Any citizen has the inalienable right to have an opinion, speak in its defence and hold peaceful protests, said the opposition leader.

Stalin had only exercised that very right democratically for the country’s sake and no one cannot oppose his right to do so, Premadasa added.