A heated argument took place in Parliament yesterday as the SJB challenged the permission given for the ruling party-led religious event held in Anuradhapura, where the President and Prime Minister participated.
The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Rohini Kumari Wijerathna argued on the justification of the Government to hold such an event with a large gathering of people amidst COVID, whilst penalising the Opposition on its protest staged this week.
“COVID does not choose between protests and religious events,” she argued on Government’s unfair policy to oppress the Opposition. On Thursday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa ceremonially unveiled the Sandahiru Seya in Anuradhapura for the worship of devotees all over the world. Sandahiru Seya, vested with the Venerable Maha Sanga on Thursday (Poya day), was built to commemorate the heroic war heroes who made great sacrifices for the unity of the motherland and to mark the end of the 30-year war, based on a concept of the fifth Executive President and present Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and under the guidance of the then Defence Secretary President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Wijerathna argued if there was no threat of the COVID-19 spreading as a result of the religious event.
State Minister of Samurdhi, Household Economy, Micro Finance, Self Employment and Business Development Shehan Semasinghe responded saying religious events must not be compared to protests. “The Opposition has some form of anger towards Buddhism,” he claimed.
Semasinghe also pointed out that the event was held to promote peace and reconciliation.