June 17, Colombo: At a time when the rupee is being strengthened after a long period of economic downturn and the country being ranked as the number one tourist destination in the world, the terrorist attack set our motherland back for many years but overcoming these challenges through unity and harmony is the only alternative, Sri Lanka's Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said.
Mr. Jayasuriya said that the support of the Opposition for the special Parliamentary Select Committee for National Religious Reconciliation forgetting the narrow politics and agreeing on behalf of the country was an important moment for the country and the move has created optimism for the future.
The Speaker said he hopes that this approach would enable the next generation to enjoy a free and prosperous land without any bitterness the country has experienced.
Mr. Jayasuriya pointed out that the secret behind the achievements of all the developed countries in the world is the sustainable national policies built on national and religious unity and said he appreciated the support rendered by the Muslims to enable to defeat terrorism in a short time.
The Speaker made these comments addressing the Fourth Special District conference of the Special Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) held in the Kurunegala District to build national religious reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
Joining the conference, Opposition Leader and Kurunegala District parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa said that it was not his policy to oppose every action as an Opposition and that the Opposition gives its full blessing to the Committee to contribute to the massive responsibility for the future of the country.
Opposition Leader Rajapaksa pointed out that the blotch to the centuries old ties between the Sinhalese and Muslims can be wiped out only through mutual understanding and the Parliamentary Select Committee for national religious reconciliation created by the Speaker has proposed the long-term plans to restore the relations.
"It is a great victory that all the parties in Parliament agree on these 24 proposals and the Diyawanna Declaration," Rajapaksa said.
Speaking further Opposition Leader said that the consensus reached in Parliament for national religious reconciliation should be extended to all strata of the society and especially, to the school children, who will take the country in the future. He added that programs should be launched for the school children to strengthen the understanding and sense of respect for other cultures.
Speaking at the event, Buddha Sasana Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said that the United National Party founded on the National Union of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim leaders, who fought together to break free from Western imperialism, could never accept racism and the founder of the party D.S. Senanayake has shown the correct path at the very beginning.
State Minister of Transport Ashok Abeysinghe, MPs SB Navinna, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Ali Zahir Moulana, AHM Fowzie and Thushara Indunil were present at the fourth session of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Reconciliation. Former members of the Provincial Council as well as a group of heads of local government bodies in the Kurunegala District were also present.
The Malwathu Chapter Anunayake Dimbulkumbure Wimaladhamma Thero gave a special sermon and the Secretaries of the Ministry of Islamic Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Education explained the steps taken by their Ministries at the conference.
Among the speakers at the conference were the religious representatives of the district, the District Secretary of Kurunegala and other government officials, Chiefs of Police and Security in the North Western Province, civil society representatives and school student leaders.