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By Saman Indrajith

A new Inspector General of Police (IGP) was likely to be appointed within the next 48 hours, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament on Friday.The PM said that following the retirement of IGP C.D. Wickramaratne, the President had given him a service extension, which had expired.The President would take the necessary steps to appoint a new IGP soon, the PM said.

“Yes, I agree that there has been a delay in appointing a new IGP. The police service hasn’t been affected. Senior DIGs and DIGs are giving the necessary orders,” he said.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said that the President’s nominee had to be approved by the Constitutional Council.

“The Council won’t meet next week. It’s scheduled to meet the week after. The IGP won’t be appointed in a few days, as the Prime Minister said. The government is letting the country run without a police chief,” Premadasa said.

Earlier, Freedom People’s Congress (FPC) leader Dullas Alahapperuma said that Sri Lanka has not had an IGP for 12 days and that this is the first time this has happened in the country’s history.

“In this time there have been many instances of organized crime, collective violence, etc. In fact, I can’t remember when such a spike in crime and violence took place following the end of the war. The discipline of the police, too, has been affected. There are media reports of senior policemen acting like wild men. Why have we not appointed an IGP? What is the reason? Why hasn’t the President nominated someone?” he asked.

Alahapperuma said that the Speaker, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, is the head of the Constitutional Council and urged the Speaker to get in touch with the President and take steps to appoint an IGP within the weekend.

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