Monks present petition with 30,000 signatures to Japanese Embassy

By Rohan Mathes
The Federation of the Bhikkhus for Rescue of the Motherland accused the Japanese envoy Yashushi Akhashi of striving to divide the nation and persuading the notorious Tamil Tigers to attend the Tokyo peace summit, thereby causing intervention and blatant violation of the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.

The Federation staged a protest walk from Borella to the Japanese Embassy and handed over a petition with 30,000 signatures of bhikkhus representing all districts of Sri Lanka, to the Deputy Ambassador of the Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka yesterday morning.

The petition pertained to the Sri Lankan Bhikkhus’ protest against the Japanese intervention into Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and the LTTE participation in the aid summit in Tokyo in June.

Handing over the petition to the Deputy Chief of Mission (Deputy Ambassador) Hiroshi Karube, the Secretary of the Jathika Bhikshu Peramuna Kalawelgala Chandraloka Thera said that a strong link existed between Japan and Sri Lanka, based on Buddhism, from time immemorial. However, the thera regretted the role played by Japan now in our crisis with the LTTE. He was of the view that vested interests from the West were now deploying a varied strategy of using Japanese Buddhists instead of the Christian Norwegians to jeopardise the unity of the Sinhalese and Tamils via the LTTE, create a separate Ealam state and divide the country.

The thera accused Japanese special envoy Yashushi Akhashi as an American agent striving to divide the nation. He claimed that the Japanese efforts of striving to get the LTTE, a notorious terrorist organisation banned by many countries, to participate in the aid summit in Japan as a blatant intervention and a gross violation of Sri Lanka’s sovreignty.

The Thera’s view was that only the legitimate representatives of the respective donor/donee countries directly involved should attend such a summit and not a terrorist organisation like the Tamil Tigers who are engaged in an armed conflict with a democratically elected government. The Japanese attempt of persuading the Tigers to join the peace summit is itself in reality giving an undue recognition to them as a separate state and a de-facto Ealam both nationally and internationally, the Thera said.

The Thera also said that out of a total Sangha population of about 50000, almost 30000 representing all districts of Sri Lanka have signed the petition, as the true patriots and guardians of our motherland who will no wise permit the country to be betrayed by the Japanese or any other powers.

Accepting the petition on behalf of the Japanese government, Hiroshi Karube speaking through his interpreter gave his response and said that he would forward the petition to the Japanese government for their consideration and assessment.

He also said that the Japanese government understood the sentiments behind such action. However, he reiterated and assured that the Japanese have never envisaged a division of Sri Lanka and would never anticipate such a division in the future too. Their fervent hope was to see Sri Lanka which had been divided along Sinhalese and Tamil ethnic lines for over 20 years , re-united as one country for the well-being of the children of Sri Lanka.

Japan sees a ray of hope in the ongoing peace talks between the LTTE and the government. We are hosting the next summit in June at Tokyo to assist in this magnanimous task of finding a peaceful solution to this problem, he added.