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* Sri Lanka President asks Buddhist group not to arouse ethnic tensions in the country
Sun, Jan 27, 2013, 08:33 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 27, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today stressed that acts aimed at creating ethnic discord among communities and inciting violence in the country will not be permitted under any circumstance.

The President made this stance when he met five Buddhist monks representing the controversial Buddhist activist group Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force) of Sri Lanka today at the Temple Trees to discuss a range of issues.

During the meeting the group discussed a number of problems the majority Sinhala Buddhist community is facing and the current dispute between the some Muslim and Buddhist groups in the country.

One major issue the organization raised was the Halal Certification process for businesses and the President and the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa explained the process in detail and the reasons for the businesses to use the certification.

President Rajapaksa while stressing that acts aimed at breaching the goodwill and the harmony between ethnicities will not be allowed under any circumstance, urged the group to help maintain the ethnic harmony in the country and not to arouse communal feelings.

The Bodu Bala Sena organization is accused of inciting and organizing violence against Muslims in the country and has been criticized by moderate Buddhist organizations and leading Buddhist monks in the country.

The Buddhist monks' group led by Kirama Vimalajothi Nayaka Thero with Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero and Vitharandeniye Nanda Thero however, claimed that there are other extremist groups, which create violence using the organization's name for their own political agenda and the Bodu Bala Sena does not condone such acts of belittling other religions and inciting violence.

The President advised the group to carry out their work without creating conflicts with other religions and maintaining the ethnic and religious harmony in the country

Minister of Water Supply and Drainage Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Petroleum Industries Susil Premajayantha, Deputy Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardena, Provincial Minister Udaya Gammanpila, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Chief-of-Staff Gamini Senarath were also present at the discussion.

(Photos by Nalin Hewapathirana)

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