Trinco hartal suspended pending President's decision
[TamilNet, Saturday, 21 May 2005, 13:51 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge will make a decision on the demand to remove the controversial Buddha statue which was erected overnight on May 15 in a land close to the Trincomalee bus stand and used for parking three wheelers, said Major General (retd) Asoka Jayawardene, Defence Ministry Secretary at the conclusion of four hours of discussions he held with several representatives of civil groups in the Sri Lanka naval headquarters located inside Trincomalee Dockyard,
Participating in the discussion Mr.V.Vigneswaran, President of the
Trincomalee District Tamil Peoples Forum (TDTPF) announced that he would
suspend the general shut down in Trincomalee demanding the immediate
removal of the Buddha statue from the present site for three days from
Sunday. In failing to remove the statue within three days he would renew
the general shut down call on an extended scale, he said.
Major General Asoka Jayawardene is reported to have replied that he was not
able to give the exact date for the President's decision to a question by
Mr.Vigneswaran. However President's decision would be announced shortly, he
The discussion, which commenced around at about 11 a.m, about two hours
late from the scheduled time, concluded around 2.15 p.m., sources said.
Rear Admiral Daya Sandagiri, Navy Commander and the Head of three armed
forces, Sri Lanka Army Commander Shantha Kottegoda, Air Force Commander
Donald Perera, Inspector General of Police Mr.Chandra Fernando and regional
and district level army, navy and police top officials participated,
Mr.Jayantha Wijesekara, JVP parliamentarian of the Trincomalee district
participated in the discussion. The other three parliamentarians of the
district did not participate.
Buddhist priests and Mr.Keerthi Priyalal, Secretary of the Three Wheelers'
Association, which was responsible for the erection of the statue, did not
attend the function, sources said.
Other participants were Brammasiri S.Ravichchandrakurkkal, Sri La Sri
Sunthara Thesigar and Siva Sri Vikneswara Kurukkal of Hindu community,
Mr.M.L.Jainulabdeen, Mr.Munsoor and another from the Muslim community and
Rev.Fr.George Dissanayake and Rev Fr. Annathas of Christian community,
Attorney-at-Law Mr.K.Sivapalan and Mr.T.Thavasilingam, Chairman of the
Trincomalee District NGOs Consortium and Mr.V.Vigneswaran,
Mr.A.S.Gunaratnam and S.Gowrimuhunthan of the TDTPF, sources said.
Religious dignitaries and representatives of Tamil civil groups said Tamils
are not against Buddhism and they revere Lord Buddha. They are against the
manner the statue was erected with a hidden agenda and in a place, which is
surrounded by fish market, meat stalls, and wine stores. "We will be glad
to participate in the function if the Buddha statue is removed and erected
in an alternative suitable location," said the representatives.
Media persons were not invited for the discussion.