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* Sri Lankan President assures equality for all communities
Sun, Jan 19, 2014, 09:11 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 19, Jaffna: Sri Lankan President Mahinda said today that the government has created a unified nation in which all Sri Lankan communities can live in peace and harmony regardless of what the international community says or does and people are enjoying the benefits of hard won freedom.

Addressing the public at a ceremony held to open a cancer hospital in Jaffna peninsula, the President said the government will not leave room for one race to suppress another in the country and assured that the government will take measures to ensure equality for all communities in the country.

Noting that following the end of the war the government had only a short period of time to address most serious issues, the government nevertheless, resettled nearly 300,000 people and secured their democratic rights by holding elections at the right time.

He said a large amount of money has been spent for development programs in the North after the war and the government has considerably reduced the troop presence in the region.

He pointed out that during the war there were a large number of army camps in the north and now there are fewer than 10 while the number of soldiers has now reduced to about 12,000 from a 70,000 present during the war.

The President declared open the fully-equipped, state-of-the-art Thellippalai Trail Cancer Hospital built at a cost of Rs. 300 million by raising funds through "Trail - A Journey by the Living - For Life", a 670 kilometer walk from southern most Dondra Point to Northern most Point Pedro.

The walk that ended in July 2011 was co-founded by Nathan Sivagananathan and Sarinda Unamboowe and hundreds including cricketers Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara took part in the 27-day walk.

The President also presented special awards to 12 persons who completed the whole length of the 670 kilometer on foot.

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V Wigneswaran and Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena also laid foundation for the second phase of the hospital.

Minister Douglas Devananda and other government and opposition parliamentarians were also present at the event.

(Photos by Chandana Perera)

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