A motion filed by a group of MPs to appoint a select committee to study and report on its recommendations with regard to ensuring communal and religious harmony in the country was passed in Parliament today.
The motion presented by MPs Ananda Kumarasiri, Lakshman Kiriella, Gayantha Karunatilleka, Talatha Atukorala, Ruwan Wijewardene, Velu Kumar, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, M. A Sumanthiran, Selvam Adaikkaranathan, Douglas Devananda, D M Swamynathan, Lucky Jayawardana, Rauff Hakeem, Wijedasa Rajapaksa, Mano Ganesan, R Sampanthan, Susil Premajayantha and John Amaratunga called for the appointment of a select committee to prevent kind of incidents that were reported from Kandy in March this year and in Beruwala in June 2014.
As per the motion the select committee is to be appointed to study and report to Parliament its recommendations to ensure communal and religious harmony in Sri Lanka.
The committee is to recommend ways and means to prevent the propagation of defamatory opinions that undermine national harmony or engagement in such activities and the necessity of taking firm legal action against individuals who engage in such activities.
It will discuss and decide on the suitability of including hate speech as a crime in the penal code, on categorizing the schools system on non racial or no religious basis, on establishing a parliamentary committee empowered to entertain complaints about the issues faced by minority ethnic groups in the North and the East, on formulating relevant legal provisions required for general implementation of law when establishing places of worship and installing images , statues, and looking into the possibility of banning publishing of news which disturb national amity.(Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)