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Gammanpila accuses India of attempting invasion of Lanka

Leader of Pivithuiru Hela Urumaya (PHU) Parliamentarian Udaya Gammanpila yesterday accused India of attempting a direct invasion of Sri Lanka by building a bridge between the two countries.

Gammanpila said the ruling party members were making contradictory statements about the proposed bridge connecting Sri Lanka with India.

Addressing the media at PHU headquarters, Gammanpila said Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella had given assurances that the controversial bridge would not be built, but his Cabinet colleague and Entrepreneurship Development Minister Kabir Hashim, addressing the recent Islamic Economic Summit in Indonesia unequivocally, had said that the bridge would be built. But, back in Sri Lanka Hashim had backtracked.

"Whom are they trying to fool?" Gammanpila asked.

"Although the Sri Lankan government make contradictory statements at different places, Indian government has been repeatedly announcing that the bridge will be a reality.

"Indian Highways Minister Nithin Gadkar, making a special statement in Lok Sabha on Dec. 16, 2015, affirmed that the Hanuma bridge between the two countries would be built and the Asian Development Bank had approved a loan of USD 5.2 billion to India for the purpose, the PHU leader said.

Gammanpila said: "When I questioned Kiriella in Parliament on March 23, 2016 about the Indian Minister’s statement and money allocated by ADB for the purpose, an irate Prime Minister shot back asking me whether I understood Hindi as the Indian Minister had made the statement in the Lok Sabha in his mother tongue.

Kiriella urged me to believe what the Prime Minister said.

Since there were objections from Sri Lanka, Indian government was bearing 100 percent of the cost of the bridge project, Gammanpila said.