Group of leading monks pleads for sanity in Jaffna University

The Dhamma-Samaggi Sansadaya comprising Buddhist monks has urged the administration of the University of Jaffna and the student communityto pursue path of national reconciliation.

The organisation has sent The Island the following statement:

"A clash between Sinhala and Tamil students that occurred at the University of Jaffna in July at a cultural event organised by the University students to welcome the new intake of freshers to the University has saddened everyone who are aspiring to promote concord and co-existence in Sri Lanka.

After the ending of the war, the peaceful, innocent, ordinary citizens looked on with great expectation and glee the dawn of a peaceful era, with the blooming of deep understanding and camaraderie in the hearts of everyone. In this regard, the people of Sri Lanka watched with great admiration how the intelligent and youthful Sinhala and Tamil student population of the Jaffna University were living harmoniously without tensions, which in, turn augured well in building a free and unified Sri Lanka. This was in spite of the political authority in the North placing impediments in the resettlement of the Sinhala people who for reasons of safety had to leave their households in the Northern Province during the period of communal conflict.

However, a conflicting and problematic situation has arisen as of today, which is inimical to peaceful co-existence, due to the machinations of an external extremist group. We urge, therefore, that the Government and the Governing Council of the Jaffa University should hold discussions immediately and find a long term solution for the non-occurrence of similar incidents in the future. Moreover, the Council of the Jaffna University should create, without delay, the necessary environment for the Sinhala students to be reassured of their safety and to regain confidence.

We, also, call upon all extremist groups not to disrupt in any way the peaceful co-existence seen in other Universities where Sinhala students along with Tamil and Muslim students live with mutual understanding and camaraderie. Furthermore, we wish, to call upon all stakeholders not to think of the Universities on communal lines as Sinhala-Tamil-Muslim because of their location, but develop them as training grounds to cultivate necessary attitudes for harmonious co-existence among all communities and for which special measures need to be taken to prevent interventions by extremist groups.

All religions have extolled the benefits of concord and the destructiveness of disunity. Therefore, we urge all communities to join hands for the progress of the country with solidarity, unity of purpose, and humane compassion after defeating the evil forces of factionalism, divisiveness and communalism. The declaration of Emperor Dharmasoka who worked for the unity of all religious groups within his Empire, namely, ‘Samavayo eva Sadhu’ (Concord indeed is Commendable) is an admirable motto for our people.

We earnestly request the entire student body of the University of Jaffna and also the administrative authorities of the University to learn a lesson from the immediate past, and whilst acting with due circumspection and unity, without getting caught to any undercurrent that resents national unity and development of this land and always looking out for occurrences of communal conflict that could be exploited to achieve their selfish, power-greedy, and narrow objectives, to act in concord towards the flowering in the hearts of all, those unbloomed, sweet-scented, flowers of natural amity, brotherhood and reconciliation.

On behalf of the Dhamma- Samaggi Sansadaya the following monks signed the statement: Kotugoda Dhammaavasa, Anunayaka Thera Ittepane Dhammalankara Mahanayaka Thera Brahmanawatte Seevali Anunayaka Thera Bellanwila Wimalaratana Anunayaka Thera Matale Dhammakusala Maha Thera Balangoda Sobhita Nayaka Thera Tirikunamale Ananda Mahanayaka Thera Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangharakkhita Nayaka Thera Waleboda Gunasiri Maha Thera Homagama Dhammananda Maha Thera Siri Vajiraramaye Narasiha Thera

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