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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2552

Sri Lanka President Rajapakse Declares no Human Rights Violations, Affirms fairness to Minority Tamils

Colombo, Sri Lanka 05 October (Asiantribune.com): In the heat of his overseas public diplomacy campaign to erase many misconceptions about Sri Lanka on issues such as human rights, disappearances and minority rights, President Mahinda Rajapaksa penetrated to his comfortable terrain, the village, to declare that, unlike some of the country’s previous rulers, there is no blood in his hands and appealed to ultra-nationalist JVP to join hands with him to give the minority Tamils the rights they rightly deserve.

Rajapakse was speaking at the National “Wap Magul” ceremony, the traditional beginning of the paddy cultivation season, held at Nikaweratiya in the North Western Province Oct 04.

This was a typical village setting in which the President joined other farmers in the rice field knee deep in mud.

Rajapakse was speaking at the National “Wap Magul” ceremony, the traditional beginning of the paddy cultivation season, held at Nikaweratiya in the North Western Province Oct 04. Rajapakse was speaking at the National “Wap Magul” ceremony, the traditional beginning of the paddy cultivation season, held at Nikaweratiya in the North Western Province Oct 04.

Sri Lanka’s president was not only addressing his countrymen but also the international community and its representatives based here.

“We accept the responsibility of developing the country entrusted to us. Although we may belong to different political parties, religions and communities, we share the responsibility of developing this country. Therefore, I call on the leaders of all political parties to join hands with us to develop the country and to solve the national question. I ask all parties such as the JVP that helped me become President to assist us in our efforts to give their due rights to the people of the north”, Rajapakse appealed.

The “Wap Magul” ceremony comes down from the time of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka, when the ruler of the land did the first plowing of the field to begin the sowing season for rice growing. Accordingly, the President used a buffalo drawn plough to do the first plowing of the paddy field for the next harvest.

He said that when development projects were getting under way at present there were those seeking to place obstacles to this progress. When he went abroad recently he found that a completely wrong picture of the country had been painted. Sri Lanka had been presented to the world as a murderous state and a failed state. The President said there was no blood in his hands, as one saw in the past at Batalanda. There were no human rights violations in the country as in the past; there were no bodies floating down rivers and steams, and there were human pyres made of tyres declared the president.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa participating in the National Vapmagul ceremomy, held in Balagollagamalocal food production under the project " Apiwawamu –Rata Nagamu "(Pix Suadth Silva) President Mahinda Rajapaksa participating in the National Vapmagul ceremomy, held in Balagollagamalocal food production under the project " Apiwawamu –Rata Nagamu "(Pix Suadth Silva)

President Rajapakse said that although there were accusations that media freedom was under threat in Sri Lanka today, any person who reads the Sunday newspapers would see the extent of media freedom that prevailed.

Speaking of food production and consumer problems President Rajapakse said, “Paddy cultivators now get a fair price for their produce. The days when they committed suicide for want of a reasonable price are over. Yet, we know that when the cultivator enjoys a fair price, there are problems for the consumer, mainly in the urban areas. This is the problem we have to solve now. ”

The President said “The country is still repaying the debts incurred on the import of wheat flour in the 1960s and 70s. We are still paying for the flour for bread consumed at that time. This is shame. Such dependence on imports for food must change, and both the cultivator and consumer should be protected”.

Referring to the cost of wheat flour and bread President Rajapakse said the Prima Company keeps on regularly increasing the price of wheat flour. It was using a special built-in legal advantage to do this. This law passed in 2003 protected Prima from the provisions of consumer protection laws. The Government is now taking action to bring necessary legal controls on Prima to protect the consumer.

President Rajapakse said it was necessary for Sri Lanka to have a self-sufficient economy. Self-sufficiency in food was most important for the country’s economic progress. He had been given the responsibility of ridding the country of terrorism in the north and east. That responsibility was being discharged. Yet, the government was eager to go ahead with the development work on the country, while it carried out the battle against terrorism.

Despite the war against terrorism, many development projects were under way. There were projects to produce more electricity such as Norochcholai and Upper Kotmale; new harbors and expressways were being constructed, the rural roads were being developed, and the development once confined to the city was now being brought to the village, the President said.

He said that as these development schemes were getting under way there were those seeking to place obstacles to this progress. When he went abroad recently he found that a completely wrong picture of the country had been painted. Sri Lanka had been presented to the world as a murderous state and a failed state. The President said there was no blood in his hands, as one saw in the past at Batalanda. There were no human rights violations in the country as in the past; there were no bodies floating down rivers and steams, and there were human pyres made of tyres.

- Asian Tribune -

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