August 17, 2019
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    ‘Government to safeguard country’s archaeological sites’ Featured

    March 18, 2019

    Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister Sajith Premadasa assured that the government would not allow any misdeed to take place at any of the archaeological sites in the country.The minister said so during the third reading stage debate on Budget proposals, under the expenditure heads of the Ministries of Buddha Sasana and Cultural Affairs in Parliament, last Saturday.

    “Under our reconciliation drive, temples and kovils could be established. As Buddhists, we worship all Hindu gods. Furthermore, unity should come from the hearts of the Tamils and Sinhalese, not just in the Constitution. When that is done, we can win as a country,” he said.

    “There is no point in shouting about it on political stages. I admit that there is no room for a federal system within a unitary system. But, within that unitary state, we must empower our people economically and socially. No community should feel that they are marginalised, no matter where they are from. It is when they feel that way that the need to stand against it arises,” the minister added.

    “We will agree with a Constitution which would bring about reconciliation and communal harmony. Reconciliation is not federalism—it is not depriving Buddhism of its first and foremost place in the constitution. We are not against a new Constitution which would ensure reconciliation. No one will try to incorporate any clause in the Constitution that will jeopardise the prominence given to Buddhism,” Minister Premadasa added.

    UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila said that there had been a draft proposing to remove the Section in the Constitution giving the first and foremost place to Buddhism.Minister Premadasa, in response, said, “Anyone could bring any proposal of any nature. This is a democratic society. You could bring a proposal, Douglas Devananda could bring another, but we allow the democratic process to decide what is best.”

    He said the Opposition should not try to create issues by inculcating false fear in the minds of the people that Buddhism was at risk in the country.“The opposition should not think that they have outright ownership of patriotism. We, too, are patriots. The President annulled the Gazette issued in 1818 and declared persons who had been named as traitors for leading and participating the 1818 Uva-Wellassa rebellion against the British colonial rule, as national heroes,” Minister Premadasa said.

    “We also declared angam pora, which was previously banned by the British, as a national sport. We are also building 1,135 stupas and are helping 806 Sunday schools, which had so far been conducted under the shades of trees, to have proper buildings. Is it treachery or patriotism?” the minister asked the Opposition.

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