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Vigneshwaran’s statement about Tamil in Parliament has ruffled feathers

ECONOMYNEXT- A controversial statement made by first-time Member C.V. Vigneshwaran delivering his maiden speech at Parliament on August 20 congratulating the newly elected Speaker as a party leader is making waves across the political spectrum.

In his speech, Vigneshwaran said that the Tamil language is the oldest living language in the world and the first language of the first indigenous inhabitants of Sri Lanka.

“I start my felicitation Honourable Speaker, hailing you in my mother tongue, the oldest living language of this world. And the language of the first indigenous inhabitants of this country and proceed in the link language,” he said.

Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila yesterday challenged Vigneshwaran to a public debate over the remarks claiming that Tamils were the first residents of Sri Lanka.

The minister said that the statement by Vigneshwaran cannot be proved to be false one by just opposing it but by presenting the facts to prove that it is not true.

Gammanpila added that although Vigneshwaran claimed that Tamil is the oldest living language it is the opinion of the Tamil people that the Tamil language was born around the 3rd century BC.

“But according to linguists Greek, Arabic, Chinese and Basque languages are considered to be the oldest languages in the world,” he said.

The statement by Vigneshwaran was first criticised by the Opposition MP Manusha Nanayakkara on the very next day in Parliament, where he requested the Speaker to remove the comments made by Vigneshwaran from the Hansard.

Nanayakkara said that when taking oaths every MP pledged not to support any cause on dividing the country or even aiding towards such efforts indirectly.

He added although every individual is entitled to have an opinion, excerpts of such comments should never be included in the Hansard of the Sri Lankan Parliament.

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Despite the request, the speech was added to the Hansard of the Parliament.

On Sunday, State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Affairs Admiral (Retd) Sarath Weerasekara said that when Vigneshwaran made the statement in Parliament he made a point of order and got up to speak against it but he said his party seniors stopped him saying it was against the traditions of the parliament as it was only the party leaders who were speaking that day.

However, he said that his first speech in parliament will be made on August 27 and that he intends to address the issue on that day.

He added that the statement made by Vigneshwaran is very racist and said that through his speech he insulted the Sinhala people.

“If that statement is included in the Hansard then we still take necessary measures to remove it from the Hansard,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga said that the request made by the opposition to remove Vigneshwaran’s statement from the Hansard was made seeking political gain.

Also, Ranatunga said that if Vigneshwaran had made such a statement then it should be removed from the Hansard undoubtedly. (Colombo/Aug26/2020)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe