Church groups slam PTA

[TamilNet, Monday, 11 December 2006, 00:10 GMT]
Churches in Sri Lanka have denounced the revival of a draconian anti-terrorism law by the government. "Many still have painful memories of the harsh impact of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) on the life of the nation not too long ago. It was political wisdom coupled with political will that finally led to it being suspended," Anglican Bishop Duleep de Chickera of Colombo said last week after the government declaration.

"The government's decision to introduce new regulations on the lines of the PTA is worrying," he was quoted by Ecumenical News International as saying.

Shortly after promulgating the law, President Mahinda Rajapakse justified the decision in a televised address to the nation, saying that fighting terrorism had become difficult because of democracy, which can be abused as a "deadly joke."

Santha Fernando, a spokesperson for the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka, a grouping of eight major Protestant churches, described the government decision as "regressive."

"This will only worsen the situation. It is a clear violation of the cease-fire agreement," Fernando told Ecumenical News International from his office in Colombo.

While the mostly-Buddhist Sinhalese account for nearly 70 percent of Sri Lanka's 19 million people, ethnic Tamils account for 17 percent. There are Christian and Muslim minorities in both of those groups.


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