Buddhist monks slam Tigers, Tamils at Trinco review
[TamilNet, Monday, 14 October 2002, 03:09 GMT]
The conference convened Sunday morning at Trincomalee district secretariat and presided over by Sri Lanka's Interior Minister Mr. John Amaratunge was apparently meant to review the security situation in the eastern port town. But there was no Tamil or Muslim representation – because the authorities didn’t even notify local representatives. Instead, Buddhist monks dominated the conference – which was conducted entirely in Sinhalese - hurling allegations against the Liberation Tigers and the Tamil community.
Not a single Muslim civilian representative from Trincomalee attended the conference except Trincomalee district parliamentarian from the ruling United National Front (UNF), Mr. M. A. M.Maharoof, and his secretary Mr. M. A. M. Mustapha. One Hindu priest attended.
The conference was attended by ministers Mr. Gamini Lokuge, Mr. T.Maheswaran, several top police officials and Major General Anton Wijendra, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army. Maj. Gen. Wijendra has been sent to Trincomalee by the Prime Minister to assess the situation of the east port town and report.
In sequence, all the Buddhist priests rose to condemn the Liberation Tigers and the Tamils.
Speaking in Sinhalese, Mr. Maheswaran – Sri Lanka’s Hindu Affairs Minister - told the Buddhist priests to make their complaints against the LTTE to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission as was being done by the army and police in Jaffna peninsula.
Minister John Amaratunge speaks at the conference at the Trincomalee district Secretariat held Sunday morning. Minister Maheswaran (far left) and Major General Anton Wijendra (middle) also attended
At one stage Minister Amaratunge told a Buddhist priest, "if we failed to use the present opportunity to achieve peace through talks with the LTTE, all will be destroyed and there is no future for the country".
At the end of the conference the Minister announced that a committee comprising representatives of all faiths and a member nominated by the LTTE will be appointed to meet once in a week and will forward a situation report to the Interior Minister and the Prime Minister.
The office of the committee will be located at the Trincomalee district secretariat and the Government Agent will be the co-coordinator of the committee, the minister said.