JO seeks Maha Sangha’s backing to thwart govt. projects inimical to SL


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L Peiris and UPFA Colombo District MP Udaya Gammanpila yesterday called for Maha Sangha’s intervention to thwart the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe project meant to create a Federal Constitution.

The Maha Sangha’s backing was sought when Prof. Peiris and MP Gammanpila met Ven. Keppetiyagoda Siriwimala thera, chief incumbent of Getembe Rajapovaramaya and Maha Nayaka of Asgiriya Chapter Most Ven. Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thera.

Prof. Peiris told The Island that they had an opportunity to explain four major issues, namely the danger in setting up an Office of Missing Persons (OMP) through an act of parliament, constitutional reforms on the basis of Lal Wijenayake’s recommendations (Report on Public Representations on Constitutional Reforms), proposed Economic and Technological Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) and the Geneva process.

Prof. Peiris alleged that the government having made various commitments inimical to the country subsequently went back on its word. The former minister was referring to the on-going controversy over an alleged understanding among the government of Sri Lanka, the US and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) as regards foreign judges in a domestic war crimes court.

Prof. Peiris said the government put off local government polls indefinitely because it feared the public opinion. "Sri Lanka is the only country in the world as we speak today where there is not a single functioning local government body. How can that be yahapalanaya or democracy?" As people had been deprived of basic democratic rights, they gave expression to their feelings through the pada yathra, Prof. Peiris said. "The government can ascertain the true state of public opinion by immediately holding long overdue local government polls."

The top Joint Opposition spokesman said that they would continue to push for local government polls. Last week Prof Peiris briefed Head of the Lankan Catholic Church Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith on the same issues.

MP Gammanpila told The Island that contrary to public pledges given by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wicremesinghe regarding the proposed constitutional reforms, the Wijenayake committee’s recommendations posed a grave Sri Lanka. The MP said that the vast majority of members of Wijenayake Committee wanted to do away with the unitary status in the new constitution as well as deny special status to Buddhism. The PHU leader alleged that the yahapalana administration had caused turmoil and acted in a manner detrimental to national security.

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