Security concerns force Buddhist prelate to cancel Jaffna visit
[TamilNet, Sunday, 29 June 2003, 19:48 GMT]
The Mahanayake Thera of Asgiriya Chapter Venerable Udugama Sri Rathnapala Buddharakita cancelled his participation at the second day proceedings of the workshop of the World Solidarity Forum held Sunday at the Veerasingham Hal. "I have been adviced by the security forces against coming to Jaffna. I regret very much for this," said Asgiriya Mahanayake Thera in his message to workshop which was read out, sources said.
The World Solidarity Forum said earlier the Buddhist prelate would arrive Jaffna by air to attend its second day proceedings of the workshop.
The Asgiriya Mahanayake further said in his message:
"When the World Solidarity Forum invited me to Jaffna, I accepted the invitation readily and with understanding. When the invitation was extended to me I thought it was a good opportunity to meet the people of Jaffna, who have suffered more than two decades, and to understand fully their pain and suffering, problems and needs, and thereby to build a bridge of friendship between the peoples of North and South. But unfortunately, due to the advice from the security forces I have been prevented from coming. I am very sorry about this.
"First of all, I want to say that the common people in the South regard you with love, respect and understanding, although from time to time there are differences of opinion, I want to emphasize that the people in the South accept the common people in the North as brothers and sisters.
"The World Solidarity Forum has been working in 17 districts among the Sinhala, Muslim and Tamil people for the last ten years to discuss the problems and the difficulties of the people of the North. Therefore the people are aware of the terror of War and the value of peace.
"I know there are problems on both sides. The time has come when we should seek solutions for these through peace and not through war. I reiterate the need for us to live as one Sri Lankan nation and to achieve peace by the sharing of power within a United Sri Lanka.
"I am sure you all accept the fact that to wipe out poverty and to develop the North and South, both groups should work together and raise a common voice. As religious leaders we have to continuously try to solve our problems according to "Dharma." In Buddhism the Lord Buddha has preached a scientific way of resolving conflict. I am sure in other religions such Hinduisim, Catholicism, Christianity and Muslim religion, the teachings are similar.
"It is when conflict is not resolved people march towards violence. There has been violence in both North and South. The only way to resolve violence is to find out the causes and eradicate them.
"In the 21st century both parties should give up violence. I strongly emphasize that we can achieve success and live peacefully with one another in a united Sri Lanka only by the way in which we face challenges and overcome them.
"While I appeal to you with loving kindness and humanity to give your attention to what has been said. I send my blessings to all the people of the North," said the prelate in his message.
A group of monks from the South led by Venerable Magakal Gadawela Punniyasara Thera Sath Korale Sadagam Kendra participated in the second day proceedings of the workshop, sources said.