Bouquets for President’s call to shun communalism
A cross section of the public, including religious leaders and
politicians, yesterday hailed President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement
that his government will not allow any communalism to raise its head in
They voiced their dissatisfaction over attempts by certain elements
with sinister motives, to create a rift among communities to realise
their hidden agendas at a time when the government led by the President
is making genuine efforts to promote reconciliation and achieve lasting
peace in the aftermath of the 30 year conflict.
President Rajapaksa’s request to Heads of media institutions to
extend their cooperation not to promote communalism through their media
is highly commendable, they said. According to Sabaragamuwa University
Chancellor Ven Prof Kamburugamuwe Vajira Thera, the President’s request
to Heads of media organisations is timely.
“The media should not ignore the responsibility in promoting
cooperation and reconciliation among communities,” the Thera said.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has made a most timely and patriotic
statement, he said.
‘President Mahinda Rajapaksa had requested all heads of media
institutions not to publish any statement or material which could incite
‘It is a very important request of the President. Many problems could
arise due to irresponsibility on the part of the print and electronic
media, Ven Prof Kumburugamuwe Vajira thera said.
“We reject all types of communalism, be it Sinhalese, Tamil or
Muslim. We will not let any communal force raise its head in Sri Lanka,”
the President said at a breakfast meeting at Temple Trees on Tuesday.
MP A H M Azwer told the Daily News yesterday that minorities had been
marginalised from the ancient past.
“This marginalisation was ended and equality of status rendered to
all communities for the first time by the President and it should be
appreciated,” he added. ‘Several politicians who have no trust in their
voters are trying to create communalism. They are doing that to gain
advantage in the political field, Azwer said.
“This is the time when all sections should get together forgetting
differences to lend support to the country’s development programmes. We
all should do our best to protect the peace and harmony that has been
restored after 30 years,” he said. Expressing views on the President’s
statement about communalism, Human Resources Senior Minister D E W
Gunasekara said rejection of all types of communalism is a great thing.
He said all senior ministers and ministers of the government are in
full agreement with the President’s sentiments.
“I always request the President to hold discussions with the main
opposition party, the UNP and the main Tamil political party, the TNA. I
have made another request to obtain more support from the media to
eradicate communalism from our midst. Now the President has lent his
seal to this request,” the senior minister said. All senior ministers
and ministers are with the President in this respect since they know the
importance of forging unity in the country at this crucial juncture, he
Ven Galagama Dhammaransi Thera told the Daily News that most media
are interested only in commercial gains.
“Through this, it is causing communalism and religious friction which
is most regrettable. Communalism has raised its ugly head everywhere in
the world due to myths being accepted as fact leading to strife,” the
thera said. ‘Many people consider their religion and race as their own
mother with reverence. Therefore, one group may feel hurt by an insult
from another group towards their race or religion as if it were directed
to their mother. Some political parties raise race and communal issues
during the election period in Sri Lanka. This indeed is a tragedy, the
thera said . “When we are living in a country we have to live as
children of one mother. Therefore promoting communalism in any form
cannot be accepted and is against media ethics. The President has made a
firm statement in this regard that should be followed by all media
institutions,” the thera said.
Deputy Economic Development Minister Muthu Silvalingam yesterday said
that the Presidential directive to heads of media organizations is a
clear indication that he is genuine in promoting reconciliation and
unity among different communities.
Deputy Minister Sivalingam said that the President has high respect
towards minority communities and he will leave no room for communalism
to take root in the country.
Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development Minister
Douglas Devananda said that there is neither a majority community nor a
minority community. They are Sri Lankans.
“We are glad about the statement made by the President. We also
believe that all types of communalism in Sri Lanka should be