Kalmunai hunger strike called off | Sunday Observer

Kalmunai hunger strike called off

The hunger strike led by the incumbent priest of Kalmunai Sri Subadrarama Viharaya, Ven. Ranmuthugala Sangharathana, demanding the upgrade of Kalmunai North Sub-Divisional Secretariat (SDS) to the level of a Divisional Secretariat was called off yesterday.

The strike was called off after he was assured of a solution by Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Secretary General Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera who visited him yesterday morning with a message from Internal and Home Affairs and Provincial Councils Minister Vajira Abeywardana.

Ven. Sangharathana Thera together with the leader of the Eastern Province Hindu Religious Priests’ Collective S.K. Sachchithanantha Sivam and two Municipal Councillors Alahakoon Vijeyaretnam and Chandrasekaran Rajan launched the fast-unto-death strike on Monday, opposite the Kalmunai North SDS office.

Meanwhile, Some local Muslims organisations began a similar fast close to the private bus stand in Kalmunai objecting to the upgrade of the Kalmunai North Divisional Secretariat.

Ven. Sangharathana Thera ended his fast by drinking a glass of water offered by Gnanasara Thera on Saturday morning. Asked as to what solutions he promised to bring about, Gnanasara Thera told the Sunday Observer that there are no instant solutions.

“A permanent solution to this problem will take time. However, we will solve the problem. It is easy to solve this problem. When the political problems are solved, this would be solved naturally. The main problem is the religious extremism in the country. I had discussions with the Minister handling this subject. He promised to bring about a permanent solution,” he said.

Internal and Home Affairs and Provincial Councils Minister Vajira Abeywardana confirmed that the Saturday meeting of Gnanasara Thera with the hunger strikers was arranged with his patronage. “He was taking my message to them,” he said. Earlier, in a statement he stated that according to a decision taken early April, a separate accountant was appointed to enable the Kalmunai North Divisional Secretariat to function as an independent division, and the accountant is operating from the District Secretariat.

The statement also noted that a National Committee had been appointed to hear the representations of relevant parties, and the process will be completed within three months. This demand is not new, Kalmunai residents told the Sunday Observer. They had raised the issue over two decades ago, requesting a separate Divisional Secretariat for 29 Tamil majority Grama Niladhari (GN) divisions.

The issue was brought forward again in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday suicide bombings and was supported by MP S. Viyalanderan and former MP Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan.