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NPC urges Gotabaya to build bridges with communities

The National Peace Council is expressing concern about several matters that “could potentially impact upon inter-community relations with the state” in a press release issued yesterday Dec 27.

The first, they say, is President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s statement that  “development would be prioritized in resolving the ethnic conflict and that strengthening the system of devolution of power is not going to be the answer.”

The second, the statement said “is the president’s assertion that there is no problem of missing persons to be resolved and limiting it to those who fell on the battlefields of war.”

“The third is the assertion by government leaders that the national anthem will not be sung in Tamil at the forthcoming Independence Day celebrations. We urge instead the continuation of the policy set in 2015 that the national anthem would be sung in both Sinhala and Tamil languages in keeping with the earliest post-independence practice in 1949 at the inauguration of the Independence Memorial Building at Torrington Square of singing of national songs in both languages,” the Council said.

The NPC praised the administration for the security arrangements that allowed the “celebration of Christmas without incident and in the manner that Christians in Sri Lanka have traditionally done.  This was a success of governance as there were security warnings due to the Easter bombings that caused heavy loss of life to Christians at worship in three of their churches.”

The NPC which describes itself as an “organization that has worked to build bridges between the ethnic and religious communities and the state for the past 25 years” asks the government to reconsider its initial assessments of the issues outlined above. 

“These are issues that have come down the decades and require institutional reform and political commitment to resolve.  We urge the government to discuss these matters with the political parties and representatives of the ethnic and religious communities, in keeping with the plural nature of Sri Lankan society, prior to concretising them as policy decisions,” the statement concluded.

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