COPE Chairman Ranjith Bandara Clarifies "Hand Gesture" Controversy Amidst Accusations

November 16, 2023

In the wake of a contentious hand gesture controversy during the summoning of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials before the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), Chairman MP Ranjith Bandara issued a statement to clarify the incident. The controversy arose as Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa raised concerns in Parliament, questioning whether Bandara's hand gestures were directed at an SLC official testifying before COPE, potentially jeopardizing the credibility of the parliamentary committee.

In his statement, COPE Chairman MP Ranjith Bandara provided context to the incident, explaining that the hand gestures were a tactical maneuver to manage a challenging situation during a critical discussion on Sri Lanka Cricket. He noted that the large number of participants trying to speak simultaneously necessitated a method to allow one person to speak without interruptions. Several MPs symbolically signaled silence by placing their fingers on two leaves, aiming to maintain order in the assembly.

Bandara emphasized that the gesture was not intended to compromise the honor of the COPE committee, which has upheld a high professional standard throughout its proceedings. However, he expressed regret that the incident had been misinterpreted on social media and within Parliament, with accusations of bias leveled against the COPE Committee by the Sports Minister.

The COPE Chairman asserted that discussions based on social media content are not suitable for the COPE Committee and urged against advising a cabinet minister on such matters. T