Just hours after his return to the island from Bolvia's G-7 Meeting, HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, together with the President's Secretary, Ministers, Inspector General of the Police and several other officials, this afternoon (18) made a bee line to meet a section Buddhist and Islamic clergy and senior citizens in Beruwala-Aluthgama areas who had by then assembled at the Beruwala Divisional Secretariat for a mutual exchange of views and assessment of ground realities in the wake of the spate of violent acts that flared up in the past 3-4 days, claiming a few lives and injuring dozens.
President Rajapaksa addressing the gathering underlined that the country would not be possible to experience another terror spree after it was salvaged from the 30-year long ruthless terrorism at the expense of many lives and such intolerance cannot be accepted. "Both Muslims and Sinhalese in this country have lived in peace for generations and roots of those relations are historic, well known and chronicled. Various international elements are hell-bent on disrupting the hard-earned peace through different machinations, in order for them to achieve their desired goals. None of us should leave room for such schemes or assist forces, trying to destabilize us in our speedy march to development and prosperity.
After giving a patient hearing to the views and concerns, expressed by the attendees, President Rajapaksa directed the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake who was present there, to take proper stock of all damages, caused to the properties in all affected areas as soon as possible and launch a mechanism to get all those repairs done at state expense, using skills of tri-service personnel. Since the Police have already forwarded a full report of the damages in all areas, it would be easy for the Army to attend to the repairs after a brief survey, the President noted.
Accordingly, Major General U. A .B Medawela, Commander, Security Force Headquarters-West was to immediately appoint a few teams of officers and Army tradesmen to commence the project with no delay on the directions of the Commander of the Army who too, spoke to the gathering of religious leaders at Beruwala before the arrival of the President at the venue.
Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, speaking to the attendees, recalled how the Army as well as he, himself in the past, took pains to defuse such communal tensions in many an area, including Nelliady and Palligodella areas when Tiger terrorists caused mayhem and inflicted bloodbaths. " We must now be matured enough to figure out who our real enemies are after this country's most ferocious battle over terrorism, had been won and set in the path to progress. This hard-earned peace should prevail and work to usher a new era of reconciliation, harmony and eternal peace in this motherland of ours. Peace is an expensive product and some do not like to see peace thriving because of their own agendas. We, as brothers and sisters of one family, should not fall prey to those elements. Ours is a solid basis of understanding and co-existence that has been on from time immemorial which no one can deny.
All our religions, the Commander added, teach non-violence as the art of living and those virtues are supreme and remain unchallenged from the day one of their origins, no matter what religion or faith all of us belong to. For a society to thrive, we need to broaden our horizons of mutual understanding, brotherhood and the notion of one nation, as Sri Lankans, the Commander opined.
Major General Prasad Samarasinghe, Chief of Staff of the Army, Major General Sumedha Perera, Director General General Staff, Major General U.A.B Medawela, Commander, Security Force Headquarters-West, Divisional Secretary for Beruwela, a few senior officials and officers of the tri-services were present at this special meeting, attended by about 100 members of the clergy.