‘Saw Tamils’ plight in Jaffna’ says top Buddhist priest

[TamilNet, Monday, 05 January 2004, 18:55 GMT]
“I saw today that the Tamils of Jaffna face difficulties due to the war. The Liberation Tigers and the government should start the peace talks again”, said Ven.Udugama Sri Ratanapala Buddharakkita Thera, chief incumbent of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siam Nikaya, the highest Buddhist order in Sri Lanka, addressing a special meeting Monday at the Naga Vihara, the Buddhist temple in Jaffna town where Sri Lanka armed forces personnel in the northern peninsula worship.

The Asgiriya chief priest (centre) visiting the Naga Vihara Monday
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Rehabilitation, resettlement and the Sri Lanka army arranged the Asgiriya prelate’s visit to Jaffna. ''The Singhalese and the Dravidian people of Jaffna had their origins in India. Hence they should work together for peace. I call upon the people of Jaffna to come forth to join the peace effort''.

“The JVP may have certain view about the peace process. But if the peace process were to be disrupted by these views then I will oppose them”, the Asgiriya prelate said.

Sri Lanka security forces commander for Jaffna, Maj. Gen. Susil Chandrapala, along with senior officers of the Sri Lanka Air Force and Navy took part in the Pirith ceremony and were blessed by the visiting priests.

The SLA officer who threatened to shoot the journalist taking part in the ceremony at the Naga Vihara (right)
The Sri Lanka army officer who threatened to kill the Jaffna journalist, Mr. Velupillai Thavachelvam was also present at the function.

The Sri Lankan armed forces are Sinhala Buddhist. The Asgiriya prelate and Buddhist clergy who visited Jaffna Monday with a heavy army escort, spoke in Sinhala about their views on the conflict at the Jaffna town Buddhist temple.



Maj. Gen. Susil Chandrapala and senior officers from the Navy, army and Police being blessed


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