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“We are branded tribesmen when we protect national assets,” Rajapakshe

Ports and airports lie on lands handed over to us by our forefathers to be protected for future generations. When we who have obtained a mandate for five years speak about their safety and protection, certain five star politicians brand us as tribesmen, Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said.

The Minister was addressing a meeting after attending a ceremony held at the Bodhirajaramaya, Thiriyaya Junction, Gomarankadawala, Trincomalee to mark the opening of its water treatment plant.

Minister Rajapakshe said they owned a duty to protect and safeguard country's resources for future generations.

Rajapakshe said they were facing a great challenge and alleged that people who tried to brand them as tribesmen, probably had no proper parents. "We were not ashamed to be branded as tribesmen because we have spoken about protecting our 2,600-year old heritage," he said.

He said the country was experiencing a period of transit when Bhikkhus and the people should rally round to take firm decisions. "We should adopt the practice of Lichchavi Kings in solving problems cropping up in the country. Instead of the Buddhist four noble truths, what have come to the forefront in political platforms today were jealousy, hate, anger and hatred," he said.

"A large number of farmers who supplied our staple diet and their family members have fallen victims to kidney disease. Health authorities had no proper plan to save their lives. The authorities had failed to control dengue because they were preoccupied with other agendas spreading enmity and hatred," the minister said.

"The Raja Rata had recorded 13,457 kidney patients and 127 of them had died during the last four months," Rajapakshe said.

The minister said the time had come to change the 'Thattu Maru' system and vituperative politics. "Today we had a national government dedicated to a new political culture. We have been able to win over the world which had marginalised us as a country. We have risen up as a proud nation once again," the minister said.

"Today we had an independent judiciary which is no second to other independent judiciaries in the world. We had no need to engage foreign judges or lawyers to fight our cases here or abroad, Rajapakshe said.

He said the late Ven. Madihe Pannasiha Thera had once commented that there was no unity among the Sinhalese. "If the Sinhalese, which form the majority community, was disunited, it would lead to division among minority communities." he said.

"Unity of the majority community would always ensure the safety and protection of minorities," Rajapakshe said.