AKD in Kattankudy promises culture of unity and brotherhood

Presidential hopeful Anura Kumara Dissanayake addressing a gathering in Kattanukudy yesterday pledged that a government led by him will facilitate a culture of mutual respect and understanding between all ethnic and religious groups.

“The cultural diversity of our country is what makes it beautiful. But our politicians have used our respective language, religion and culture to divide us, to create conflict and tribulation. We will create a country home to a united people that accept and respect each other’s identity,” he said.

The National People’s Power (NPP) candidate said, under his presidency, language equality will prevail.

“Every child should have the right to study in his or her mother language. Every people should have the right to deal with the government in their mother tongue. It is only then that everyone will feel that this is their country,” he said.

On the national security front, Dissanayek said an NPP government will guarantee security for all Sri Lankans and not just one community.

“After the war ended, our leaders couldn’t even make sure the country was without conflict for even 10 years. In 2014, just five years after the war, there were clashes in Aluthgama and Darga Town. In 2018, clashes erupted again in Digana and Akurana. This year there were bombs going off. These leaders need war; they thrive on conflict,” he said.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) parliamentarian also accused the establishment of enabling extremism on all sides.

“Salaries are paid to both Sinhalese and Muslim extremists from the same bank account of the Ministry of Defence. How do we read this? A country cannot move forward by enabling extremism and creating conflict. Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burger and Malay, we’re all one Sri Lankan community. We must establish a culture that promotes unity and brotherhood,” he said.

Noting that the wider Muslim society had rejected the elements of the community responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks, Dissanayake said extremist groups were propped up by politicians.

“After the Easter attacks, a minority of Sinhalese extremists carried out attacks targeting Muslims in some areas. Where does the threat come from? It comes from the suspicion and fear that the extremists in one group will attack ordinary members of another group. You don’t need generals to solve this. The first thing that needs to be done is to not allow politicians to prop up extremists groups. As a political movement, we will not allow a rise in extremism in Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim communities. We will never make extremist ideology part of our politics. We give you that guarantee,” he said, recalling that the JVP stood up for the Muslim community when there was a rise in Islamophobic sentiment among the majority community.

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