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Consensus between various communities vital - PM

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prof.Maithree Wickramasinghe being received by Prisons Reforms,Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M.Swaminathan at Temple Trees yesterday. Picture by Hirantha Gunathilake

Let us determine on the Thai Pongal day to focus on building a consensus between the communities, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“This would enable us to strengthen the shattered economy and bring about prosperity not only to the North and South but to the entire country,” the Prime Minister said.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was speaking at the National Thai Pongal Festival-2018 at Temple Trees yesterday.

He stressed that this event was a major national event of the country and an important Tamil festival.

The Prime Minister said as the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly, he had been able to deliver the report of the Committee before the Constitutional Assembly with the consensus between all members of the community.

The Prime Minister added that this was the first time that such an effort had been made since independence of the country.

“It had been presented without the disagreement of the members which is very good for the country,” Premier Wickremesinghe said.

“We have some options and it refers to serious studies by the members to find a political solution that is acceptable to all,” the Prime Minister said.

He added that what they are doing at present is building a consensus and creating a climate to move towards a political solution which safeguards all cultures, religions and languages. The Premier added that President Maithripala Sirisena, himself and others were attempting to bring about a consensus between all the communities and much has been accomplished.

He said that Minister D.M. Swaminathan and Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan who addressed the occasion said that the Thai Pongal is an important Tamil Festival.

“Thai Pongal is also an important National Festival in the country,” the Premier stated.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe added that there are two festivals connected to the harvesting season in our country.

He also added that one festival is to thank the Gods for the good harvest which is Thai Pongal and the other is to pray to the Gods for a good harvest which is the Wap Magula. “One is a Sinhala Festival while the other is a Tamil Festival,” the Premier said.

The Prime Minister added that our country was plagued by terrorism for three decades which also wrecked massive damage to Jaffna and the North where the majority of the Tamil population live.

He added the terrorist conflict also affected some parts of the Eastern Province too.

The Prime Minister added that the government is working to bring about prosperity to the North and to other parts of the country on an equeal footing.

Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan and Minister D.M. Swaminathan also spoke. Ministers Sagala Ratnayaka, Mano Ganeshan and M P Ravi Karunanayake were also present at the occasion.