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One country, one law task force: Minority parties fear further divisions

a year ago

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  • Say PTF lacks credibility and is divisive 
By Uwin Lugoda The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) plan on discussing the recently appointed “one country, one law” Presidential Task Force (PTF) with other political parties and the community, The Sunday Morning learnt. ACMC General Secretary M. Suhaibdeen told The Sunday Morning that there was growing concern amongst the ACMC and other parties regarding the new PTF and its potential to cause greater divide amongst Sri Lanka’s ethnic communities. He explained that due to these concerns, the ACMC planned to discuss this matter with other parties, lobby with the Government, and make suggestions regarding it.  “We have already discussed this matter internally, and everyone is critical of this appointment. We find the ‘one country, one law’ concept itself to be questionable when put into practice,” said Suhaibdeen. He explained that the concept was not practical, given that different religions have different practices that date back thousands of years; therefore, the concept might impede their religious rights.  Other minority parties and organisations had also expressed concern over the task force, and the appointment of Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera as its Chairman.  SLMC General Secretary Nizam Kariapper stated the task force was not credible.  He explained that, despite having qualified individuals in the country, the Government had appointed people who do not have expertise on the respective subject.  “Politically, it is an open secret that the person chairing the task force had hurt Sri Lanka’s Muslim community, and his appointment only makes the community feel worse,” he said.  When questioned if the party will lobby with the Government regarding this issue, Kariapper stated that the SLMC was still in discussions, and had not made plans yet.  Responding to a query, the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) also raised concerns about Ven. Gnanasara Thera’s appointment. JVP parliamentarian Vijitha Herath explained that if such a task force was necessary, it could have been executed either under the Justice Ministry or through the country’s legal system. He stated that this PTF would cause unnecessary ethnic issues within the country, which, he opined, was the Government’s plan to cover up the real issues, such as the rising cost of living and the fertiliser problem.