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DateLine Sunday, 6 May 2007

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JHU wants time to study SLFP proposals

'No hasty decisions will be taken':

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a strong ally of the government said yesterday that it would not take any hasty decisions to withdraw from the government but will take time to study the proposals submitted by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to the All Party Representative Committee.

The clash between the government and the JHU erupted over the SLFP proposals, which the JHU claims that the SLFP fails to give due recognition to Buddhism and its failure to maintain the unitary status of the country.

The JHU Leader Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera told the 'Sunday Observer' yesterday that the two demands - maintaining the unitary status of the country and giving the foremost place to Buddhism- were not new but were in the agreement signed between the JHU and the then Presidential candidate and the Leader of the SLFP President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"We supported the President not to get any ministerial portfolios but to join hands with the Mahinda Chinthana, which we think can solve most of the problems in the country", he said. According to Ven. Medhananda Thera, the JHU is still studying the SLFP proposals in depth. "We will resign from the given ministerial posts anytime and will join the Opposition if the government goes ahead with the same proposals", he said.

"During the time of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in her proposals the foremost place was given to Buddhism and even in the 1818 Kandyan Convention the same prominence was given to Buddhism by the Britishers. So, why not in the SLFP proposals?", he queried.

However, he said, that according to media reports, the proposals reflected the SLFP's viewpoint and would be amended later according to the views of the other parties before the final document is implemented. "We are waiting patiently until the government releases the final document", he said.

Ven. Medhananda Thera reiterated that the JHU wanted to maintain its policy to maintain the unitary status of the country and a peaceful environment which allows all nationalities to live together and give the foremost place to Buddhism.

He said that the JHU firmly believes that the Mahinda Rajapaksa government would look into these matters before finalising the landmark document to solve the national problem.

The JHU leader said that his party would not hesitate to take a strong decision if the government takes a wrong path violating the agreement signed between the party and the President.

 

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