The All Ceylon Hindu Congress (Federation of Hindu Religious Associations and Hindu Temples in Sri Lanka), has strongly condemned acts of communalism and religious hatred again being directed against minority religious groups and in particular the recent incidents affecting Muslims in Aluthgama and Beruwela areas.
The ACHC has said, in a media statement, that no one should perpetuate ethno-religious discriminations.
“Of course religions and cultural distinctions should be respected, but those distinctions do not justify discriminations.
“Every citizen must feel that he has nothing to fear from the government of his country. He must feel assured that he is neither a second or third class citizen.
“The need for a government to act justly and fairly by all its citizens remains a universal desideratum. No one should exercise or appear to exercise State Power in his temptation to discriminate the other citizens of this country on the ground of race or religion of language
“Everyone should realise that the Republican Constitution of this country is ASSURING TO ALL RELIGIONS the rights of thought conscience and religion and also the freedom to manifest and practice his religion as guaranteed by the Articles 10 and 14 despite giving Buddhism the foremost place (Article 9). It is unfortunate that the State Authorities are choosing to ignore their duties towards the religions of the minorities. Needless to add that the Constitution further stipulates that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law and also that no citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion or language.
“The leaders of the Government and the Government Officers who have affirmed or sworn to and taken oath to perform their duties and discharge their functions in accordance with the Constitution and its law and also to uphold and defend the Constitution have unfortunately created a serious doubt in the minds of their voters and tax payers to the effect that they (the leaders and the officers) have failed in their duties and obligations.
“We note that His Excellency the President has assured that he will never hesitate in implementing the laws of the country and that he will NOT allow communalism to TAKE ROOT in the country again.
“As His Excellency has rightly pointed out, the country was battered by communalism for three decades (we would wish to point out that it was for more than five decades) and no one wants to see communalism or religious hatred to raise its ugly head in this country again.
“We are relieved to have His Excellency’s assurance that he will leave no room for the attempts by disruptive elements to create another ‘Black July’ in the country and that His Excellency has directed the security forces to be vigilant of moves by bankrupt political groups to foment violence in the country by inciting the public.
“We take this opportunity to quote paragraphs 255 and 256 of from the Report of the Truth Commission on Ethnic Violence published in the Sessional Paper No. III -2003.
“The following further remedies (among others) were recommended by the All Ceylon Hindu Congress:
“Any type of propaganda on racial or religious basis should be banned;
“Sri Lanka should be a secular country giving freedom and equal rights to all religions.
“Equal opportunities to all irrespective of race or religion should be assured
“Suitable legislature and administrative measures should be introduced to arrest violation of human rights based on racial or religious basis. “
“We wish to reiterate the same recommendations and appeal to the Government and all the political leaders to give serious consideration to these suggestions in the best interests of our Country.
“We appeal to all the Hindus to conduct special prayers and poojahs on Fridays praying for restoration of the full freedom and rights of all the citizens of this country irrespective of their race and religion.”