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Government Gazette

Now, the 'unitary' call comes from Jaffna

A newspaper report yesterday stated that the Bishops of Jaffna, Mannar and Anuradhapura have assured President Mahinda Rajapaksa of their support to preserve the unitary status and sovereign integrity of this island nation.


They have offered this assurance at a meeting with the President in Colombo. It is the most welcome assurance at the beginning of this year from these much respected religious dignitaries. The Bishops in these three districts play a vital role in the day to day lives of the people living in these strife torn areas. In other words, they are the 'saviours' who always come to the rescue of people affected by violence. They speak on their behalf in a fearless manner.

The discussion with the President had centred on the current situation and problems of civilians in those areas.

The religious dignitaries have welcomed the swift action taken by the state to provide relief to civilians isolated by the recent skirmishes in those areas. They have also commended the services of the troops with regard to relief measures provided to the affected people.

The call to protect the unitary character of the nation by these religious leaders would now, certainly strengthen the hands of the President who prior to being elected pledged to uphold the unitary character of this country. In that bid, he said he would walk that extra mile to meet the LTTE leader to negotiate reasonable and just solution under a unitary state.

The three Bishops have upheld that all problems could be sorted out through a dialogue. Similarly, the President, from day one had held this view. The Bishops have also reposed their faith in the All Party Conference process now in progress as the way out to resolve the conflict situation. The position taken by these three Bishops may not be to the liking of the LTTE and Velupillai Prabakaran who are bent on achieving a dreamland called "Eelam" through violence.

The three religious leaders have quite rightly upheld that this tiny island nation cannot be divided into parts. Time and again they have stressed the need to find a negotiated settlement and spoke on behalf of the suffering civilian population.

Extensive devolution to the periphery is quite possible under a unitary state. A devolution process to satisfy the aspirations of people living in the four corners of the country does not mean division. Those in the South too should realise these facts.

As much as the people in the South are eager to develop their areas, the people living in the North and East too want their areas developed. They too need pure drinking water and other infra-structural facilities. In the past, we have failed in developing those areas, though we launched massive development projects under the Mahaweli Development Schemes.

Now, the time has come to realise these failures and shortcomings. Such areas need urgent attention and remedy. If the people in those areas are provided with such facilities, it will be difficult for the LTTE to convince them to fight for a separate state.

Development process

For the first time since Independence, the present Government headed by President Rajapaksa has given thought to go ahead with a development process to benefit the people in the North and East. The massive Moragahakanda Project, costing four billion rupees would be commissioned by the end of this month.

This project is solely funded by the Government with no foreign financial component by way of aid. The people in those areas clamour for basic amenities like water, highways, road network, health and education. If we provide adequate facilities in these much important spheres, no doubt the people in the North and East would corner the LTTE as a bunch of terrorists who are out to destroy life and property.

Many religious leaders in the South have opposed a division of this country. Their clarion call was for a unitary state.The President too has upheld that position. Now, the Bishops of Jaffna and Mannar, in particular, have called to preserve the unitary character of this country.

As of now, it is only the LTTE which is crying for a division which is most impossible. Political leaders must stop harping at meetings and putting up posters that incite communal feelings. The streets of Colombo are now, not meant for useless protests of such nature as the tensed security situation too does not provide for such unworthy acts.

Unitary state

Also there's no need for such protests now as the call to preserve the unitary state has now come from the North. The voice of the Jaffna and Mannar Bishops, is the voice of the people of the North and East. And not of the treacherous LTTE.

The clarion call to preserve the unitary character of the state will add more strength and vigour to all of us to proudly commemorate our 59th Independence Day on February 4. We are just three weeks away from that historic day.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Sri Lanka
Kapruka -

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