'Hinduism Sri Lanka’s oldest religion' – Ranil
[TamilNet, Friday, 02 May 2003, 08:24 GMT]
Inaugurating the Second World Hindu Conference in Colombo Friday, Prime Minister (PM) Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe said that Hinduism is the oldest religion practiced in Sri Lanka and that it played a great role developing the island’s culture. Hundreds of Hindu and other religious scholars and clergy gathered under the aegis of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Hindu Affairs for a five day conference on Hinduism.
In his inaugural address the PM said further: “We meet at a time when we are trying to bring peace to Sri Lanka. We embarked on difficult peace process, but we have come this far today. But it is not easy. All parties have made a commitment not to engage in violence and to uphold the rights of all communities. We all have to denounce violence and it is only then it would be easy to achieve peace. We have to find an acceptable political settlement. But it is still easier said than done."
Several senior United National Front (UNF) ministers also took part in the inauguration along with the PM.
Organisers of the conference said President Chandrika Kumaratunga was expected at the inaugural. However, she failed to turn up until the event was over.
The conference opened at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall near downtown Colombo.
Mr. Wickremesinghe being led to the inaugural by Hindu priests, chanting blessings on him