2nd Lead (Adds photos)

Buddhist monks meet Jaffna LTTE political leaders

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 September 2004, 01:28 GMT]
A group of forty six Buddhist monks from the South of Sri Lanka Tuesday told the Jaffna political leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that not all Buddhist priests are against the peace process and only a few leading prelates in the south are espousing racism.

Monks visit Jaffna Jaffna District Human Development Centre (HUDEC) invited the group to facilitate exchange of views with representatives of civil groups in the peninsula and to enable the monks to see the ground situation after the ceasefire agreement came into force.

The Buddhist monks led by Rev. Fr. Dilex Shantha Fernando of the Badulla Diocese Tuesday noon paid a visit to the LTTE Jaffna district political located along Potpathi Road in Kokuvil, a suburb in Jaffna town, sources said.

Buddhist monks discussed in length about the peace process and other related matters with the Jaffna district Deputy Political head Mr.T. Semmanan, Jaffna District Women Political Head Ms Kalaivili and Mr.S. Imayavan, trade union co-ordinator.

The monks told the LTTE Jaffna leadership that majority of the Buddhist priests in the south are against another war. They appealed to the LTTE leadership not to accept statements made by few prelates against the peace process as the view of entire Buddhist clergy.

Mr.Semmanan in reply told the monks that armed freedom struggle commenced due to the suppression of Tamils' rights by the State and by the state terrorism when Tamils launched non-violent means to win their rights.

"Since the ceasefire agreement came into force several leading Buddhist monks have visited us. We explained to them problems faced by Tamil people under the chauvinistic rule of Sinhala leaders. Even after that we hear several Buddhist prelates are campaigning against the peace process in the south," said Mr.Semmanan.

Monks visit Jaffna
The monks later visited several villages including Keerimalai and Maviddapuram in Valigamam division which fall into the high security zones demarkated by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). Thereafter they met with several internally displaced families who are temporarily housed in welfare centres in Alaveddy as their lands and houses are occupied by SLA in the HSZ, sources said.

Tuesday evening the Buddhist team held discussion with the leaders of the Movement for Justice and Peace in Jaffna, sources said.


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