Opposition to constitutional changes

The combined forces of Sri Lanka’s powerful Buddhist hierarchy including all the Mahanayaka and Anunayaka Theras of the three Chapters assembled in Kandy yesterday to deliberate on vital national issues currently besetting the nation.

The Mahanayaka Thera of Asgiriya Chapter Most Ven. Warakagoda GnanaratanaThera, Mahanayaka Thera of the Amarapura Chapter Most Ven. Kotugoda Dhammawamsa Thera and the Mahanayaka Thera of Ramagnna along with Anunayaka Theras of the Three Chapters attended the deliberations.

The Chief Secretary of the Asgiriya Chapter Ven. Medagama Dhammananda Thera told Ceylon Today that three most significant issues were taken up for discussion. The Three Mahanayaka Theras and the Anu Nayaka Theras had been unanimous in stressing that Constitutional amendments or introducing a completely new Constitution would not be appropriate at this point in time. “

Constitutional amendments are hotly debated in the country and it appears to be centred on aspects which could potentially impact negatively on the unitary status of the country and the supremacy of Buddhism. The consequences of implementing the 13th Amendment are also ambiguous and questionable,” he added.

The Thera further added that they hardly repose any confidence in the provisions that are to be meshed into the planned new Constitution. ” We asked the authorities to present us with the provisions that are going to be amended, added to or expunged from the Constitution. The Mahanayaka Theras strongly emphasized that Constitutional amendments or a new Constitution is not necessary at the moment,” he said. He added that the Mahanayaka Theras stressed the importance of presenting a Bill to do away with the preferential votes system in elections.

The Thera also stated that the SAITM crisis had plunged patients by the hundreds including students who are staging protests, as well as their parents. “This crisis affects the economy of the country in a detrimental manner. As such, the government should provide an agreeable solution to all the parties involved as quickly as possible,” he said, emphasizing the importance of providing an acceptable solution to the students who are studying at SAITM as well.

” The Missing Persons’ Bill is to be tabled in Parliament today (5) and the Mahanayaka Theras have also strongly disagreed with this plan. Although we have no time to urge the government not to introduce that Bill since it is already scheduled for presentation in Parliament, we will further discuss the issue with the government too,” the Thera added.

He revealed that the Mahanayaka Theras are to meet the President tomorrow (6) and the Mahanayaka Theras have also expressed their consent to making their contribution to solve the present crises in the country. (CT)

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