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All religious groups in Sri Lanka free to follow their faith: President

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All communities in Sri Lanka co-exist in complete harmony and all religious groups are free to follow their faith without any discrimination, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured.

President Rajapaksa has said that all communities in Sri Lanka live in coexistence as they have inherited a great culture and civilisation, nurtured by the purest form of Buddhism for a long time. The President made these remarks when a foreign Buddhist delegation visiting the island met him at Temple Trees Wednesday night. He said that following the end of the war against terrorism, the country is now enjoying the benefits of peace and freedom but some elements who cannot bear the peaceful situation, were making futile attempts to disgrace the country internationally, by giving false information that there is no freedom of faith in Sri Lanka. The President stressed that all religious groups in the country were free to follow their faith without any discrimination. The Buddhist delegation representing several countries is visiting the island at the invitation of the Sri Bodhiraja Foundation. The leader of the delegation, Venerable Hai Thao Thera, said that his delegation is in the island for 10 days and was able to visit various parts of the island and clearly witness the peaceful environment prevailing in the country. The Thera said Sri Lanka’s religious and ethnic reconciliation and rapid development following the end of a brutal war are significant and set an example for other countries. Leader of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thero and Western Provincial Council Minister of JHU Udaya Gammanpila were also present at the occasion.

President stresses handful of extremist elements will not be allowed to destroy the nation

  One race cannot be strengthened by destroying another, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said, emphasising that a handful of extremist elements cannot be allowed to destroy the nation. Speaking at the convocation ceremony of Panditha degrees at the President’s House in Kandy, President Rajapaksa vowed that the peace won by the sacrifices of many lives should benefit all communities and that a few elements would not be allowed to rob that peace. “Since the country has been completely liberated from 30 years of cruel terrorism and democracy has been established, the environment has been created to enable all communities to follow their faiths and live in peace and amity,” the President said. The President said a small group of people who could not bear to witness the unity brotherhood and cooperation existing between all communities was trying to bring the country into disrepute internationally by providing wrong information to the outside world. “Hence, a wrong picture about our country has been disseminated abroad. Everybody must act with extreme caution,” he said. President Rajapaksa awarded Panditha certificates to 300 graduates at the convocation. President was also honoured with the award ‘Vibhudha Janaprasadhani’. The Mahanayake of Sri Lanka Ramanna Nikaya, Most Venerable Napane Premasiri Mahanayake Thera, Ven Niyangoda Wijitha Anunayaka Thera, Ven Galagama Aththadassi Anunayaka Thera of the Asgiriya chapter and Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardane were also present at the convocation.

Source FT
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