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 Post subject: President calls Buddhist conference
 Post Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2005 4:17 pm 
President calls Buddhist conference

BBC Sinhala
17 June, 2005 - Published 17:43 GMT


President Chandrika Kumaratunga intensified her campaign to win support for proposed joint mechanism (JM) for tsunami reconstruction by calling a conference of Buddhist monks in Colombo on Friday.

Nearly a thousand monks attended the conference in Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) on the invitation of the government.

The president told the monks she was surprised that the LTTE agreed for the JM, which she said “does not even have the power of a Pradesheeya Sabha (Divisional Council).”

She questioned whether there was any other option than negotiating with the LTTE for a permanent solution to the national question.

'Duty of the generation'

Most of the Buddhist leaders voiced strong support for the proposed mechanism to share tsunami relief aid with Tamil Tigers.

Questioning the structure of the JM, later renamed as Post Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS), Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratne thero said it is the duty of the current generation to create a peaceful country for the future generations.

Prof. Kumbrugamuwe Vajira thero said it is an essential tool to reconstruct the tsunami devastated areas. Failure to do so, he said, will result in increasing hatred towards Sinhalese in the minds of the Tamil people.

Baddegama Samitha thero, first ever Buddhist monk to enter Sri Lanka’s parliament, said the Tamil leadership has evolved into an armed Prabhakaran from democratic leaders such as Chelvanayagam and Amirthalingam.

Fast-unto-death

Tamils are now demanding for a separate state instead of federalism or regional councils due to the actions of Sinhala Buddhist leaders since independence, he said.

“The patient’s condition is critical at the moment,” Samitha thero added.

More than 30,000 were killed and nearly a million made homeless after 26 December tsunami in Sri Lanka.

Sinhala nationalists oppose sharing tsunami relief aid with the Tamil Tigers saying it would lead to a creation of a separate country.

President Kumaratunga now leads a minority government as Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) resigned from the government on Thursday.

Buddhist monks of JVP and Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) staged fasting campaings against the proposed deal.


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