Buddhist leaders oppose lifting ban, urge colonisation

[TamilNet, Friday, 25 January 2002, 23:40 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s hardline Buddhist clergy Thursday urged the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe not to de-proscribe the Liberation Tigers and to continue the colonisation of Tamil areas in the north and east, the state-owned Daily News reported Saturday. The PM had vowed that the newly elected United National Front (UNF) government will never take any action detrimental to the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and rejected the Tamil homeland concept, the paper said. The Prime Minister agreed to look into the matter of colonisation.

The PM received the blessings of the Most Ven. Agga Maha Pandita Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayake Thera of the Amarapura Sri Dhammarakshita Maha Nikaya at the Siri Vajiragnana Dharmayatanaya, Maharagama when he met them to discuss the ethnic issue.

Ven. Pannasiha handed over to the Prime Minister a memorandum regarding the proposed peace talks and de-proscription of the LTTE. Ven. Pannasiha in his memorandum stated that the LTTE had declared that its proscription should be lifted and the homeland concept accepted as a pre condition for entering peace talks. Ven. Pannasiha stated that on many occasions he had clearly stated that the homeland concept is a historical misconception.

The Mahanayake Thera further stated in his Memorandum that he can never approve a deproscription of the LTTE as such a step would lead to a grave national and international crisis.

The Prime Minister had responded "We have never accepted the homeland concept. Our stand is that Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims are living in the North and East. This stand has been included even in the Indo-Lanka accord. Therefore the homeland concept will never be accepted. No request pertaining to the homeland concept has been made to us so fare either. We have always clearly expressed our stand on this issue.”

Ven. Pannasiha also requested the Prime Minister to create settlements in selected jungle land in the North-East and settle people in them according to the communal ratio after providing tube wells to ensure them their water supply. The Prime Minister said he would look into this matter.

Regarding the ban, Wickremesinghe told the monks that "Various countries in the world have expressed their views on the LTTE proscription. Sri Lanka will not stand to lose anything internationally by entering peace talks. We have to consider this factor too. What we can do is to amend the regulations, regarding the ban. It will not mean a total lifting of the regulations.”

The Prime Minister said all necessary steps would be taken after discussions with the Maha Sangha and all parties, the Daily News reported. Earlier the Maha Sangha led by Ven. Pannasiha chanted Seth Pirith and invoked blessings on the Prime Minister and his delegation. The Prime Minister and the members of his delegation also offered 'Ata pirikara' to the Maha Sangha.

 

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