Vigneshwaran says he is misunderstood by the Southerners

The Most Ven. Tibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter presenting a “Buddha statue” as a memento to Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneshwaran when the latter called on him at his temple in Kandy and received his blessings recently. Picture by Udeni Rajapaksa

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneshwaran said people in the South had a wrong impression about him and his group. He said he has no need to divide the country.

He stated this when he called on the Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter at the Malwatte Viharaya in Kandy to receive his blessings.

He said a three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court has ruled that federalism did not lead to a division of the country. “Therefore, criticism levelled against him and his group saying federalism would lead to division of the country is a baseless allegation,” the Northen Province Chief Minister said.

Vigneshwaran who invited the Malwatte Chief Prelate to visit the North on an inspection tour of community life, as done by the Asgiriya Chief Prelate, said there were 89,000 widows in the North who should be ensured a stable life style through a concerted programme of action.

“There was a large number of destitute children and rehabilitated youth in the North and no one had volunteered so far to offer them employment avenues,”Vigneshwaran said.

He said Southern fishermen were engaged in fishing in Northern waters with Army assistance and this had caused a problem to Northern fishermen.

He said 18 Brigades with 15,0000 personnel were stationed in the North and he had requested the President Maithripala Sirisena to shuffle them to other parts of the country without restricting them to the North. He said the Armed Forces still occupied 85,000 acres of land of which only 1500 acres had been restored to the people despite contrary propaganda carried out through the media.

The Malwatte Chief Prelate said the request to withdraw the Army from the North at once was unacceptable. It should be done systematically as time progressed. If there were any problems they should be settled through discussions with the government.

Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayake Thera said Army occupied territory was now being systematically restored to the people and added that politicians usually tried to attain party and private gains rather than acting according to the people’s needs.

The Malwatte Chief Prelate also quipped that attending to people’s problems was much more urgent than building highways.

The memorandum formulated by the Northern Tamils Peoples Council was also handed over to the Malwatte Chief Prelate to be forwarded to the government for its consideration.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Kandiah Shivanesan and Provincial Women’s Affairs Minister Anandi Shashidaran were also present on the occasion. 

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