Sangha opposes Tiger de-ban

The Maha Nayakes of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters, Most Ven. Rambukwelle Sri Vipassi and Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkhita have joined a group of leading monks and civil society organisations in urging President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe not to de-proscribe the LTTE.

The Maha Nayakes joined the nationalist campaign last Friday as former Premier Ratnasiri Wickremanayake joined a Ven. Elle Gunawansa-led group of PA and JVP MPs to campaign for the same. The group launched its campaign on Friday while the JVP was finalising plans to march on Temple Trees day after tomorrow (23).

The National Joint Committee (NJC) which played a pivotal role in obtaining the Maha Nayakes blessings for their campaign said that they would step up protests. The NJC has been invited to join the JVP-led protest on Tuesday.

"The existing ban on the LTTE should not be lifted under any circumstances," the NJC-led group said, reiterating their five other basic and non-negotiable conditions from the point of view of the Sinhalese: the northern and the eastern provinces (the latter being part of the Kandyan Kingdom) should never be merged, police and security forces should remain in the provinces, the unitary character of the Constitution should be further strengthened and continued unaltered as it has always been, a federal or quasi federal system of a confederacy is totally unacceptable to the overwhelming majority of people in this country and should never be established and moves to set up an Interim Administration for the two provinces should be dropped as it would pave the way for a separate state there.

Their memorandum has been addressed to Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapakse, the cabinet of ministers and other parliamentarians. It said: "For the first time in our history, ominous signs threatening the break up of the 2500 year-long unitary character of our motherland are already visible. Therefore, we consider it our duty and responsibility to place before you the following facts for your earnest consideration.

We are conscious of the fact that successive governments during the last two decades adopted various strategies to rid our country of the menace of terrorism. We have also been carefully observing the peace efforts of the present government. And, hitherto, we refrained from commenting on the partly because of our deep commitment to peace and partly because we felt it incumbent on our part to allow the new government to translate its pledges into action.

Yet, in view of what transpired at Velupillai Prabhakaran’s press conference on April 10 it appears that the so-called peace process initiated with the MoU now in place is primarily aimed at the establishment a separate state in the North-East rather than achieving real peace. Hope for peace therefore has completely collapsed. In these circumstances, the LTTE is not interested in peace but in the establishment of a powerful Tamil state within the territory of Sri Lanka. This will be inevitable unless we resist it with all our might. And the failure to prevent it will result in the subjugation of the Sinhala race and the Buddha Sasana from this island. It is therefore the bounden duty of every member of the Maha Sangha and lay people to do their utmost to prevent the designs of the Tamil terrorists from becoming a separate state called Eelam a reality."

The statement has been also endorsed by Most Ven. Madihe Pannasiha, Most Ven. Veveldeniya Medhalankara, Most Ven. Bellana Sri Gnanawimala, Most Ven. Ambalangoda Sumangala, Ven. Ambanwela Pannasekera, Ven. Galagama Sri Atthadassi, Ven. Aluthgama Dhammananda, Ven. (Professor) Warakave Dhammaloka, Ven. Urulewatte Dhammakkihita, Ven. Medagama Dhamananda, Ven. Daranagama Kusaladhamma, R. S Wanasundara (President, National Joint Committee), Dr. Piyasena Dissanayake (General Secretary, Sinhala Jathika Sangamaya), S. W. Walpita (Chairman Sinhala Commission), T. Gamini Perera (Success Colombo), Y. W. Gunawardhana (President, Dharmavijaya Foundation), Priyantha Ratnayake (Sinhala Veera Vidhana), Indrani Devendra (All Ceylon Buddhist Womens Association), Wimala Somaratne (National Council of Buddhist Women) and Upatissa Karunaratne (President Sasana Sevaka Samithiya, Maharagama). (SF)