EDITORIAL - Great religions are torn apart by shortsightedness

16 June 2014 08:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


esponding to criticism against the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that provided for the awarding of citizenship to people of Indian origin in Sri Lanka in 1988, the then President J.R.Jayawardene questioned whether his critics wanted him to dump those people into the Indian Ocean.
The remark by the veteran in Sri Lankan politics earns a great amount of validity today in the face of the latest round of ethnic-religious riots that had sprung up in Aluthgama and Beruwala on Sunday night.  As President Jayawardene had meant, no community would be able to “finish off” or get rid of another community in the country and the only civilised option left was to find ways of living together in peace and harmony.

It is sad to note that Sunday’s incidents were painted with a religious colour, or in other words, the people played havoc in the name of two great religions in the world, one promoting the noble precept of “mettha” and the other the hallowed notion of “compassion”. Before resorting to repeat what went on, both groups should ponder whether they had followed those noble values preached by the great founders of the two religions or whether their actions had earned repute or disrepute for the very religions they were representing.

No one involved in the incidents, directly or indirectly, would be able to deny the fact that their words and deeds, had in any way contributed to the strengthening of hatred in the minds of their own religious followers, which runs counter to the very essence of the cause of the founders of the two religions. Minds of the people belonging to these two religions in the country are extensively filled with hatred compared to the situation that prevailed some two years ago. Ironically this is an outcome of actions and utterances made in the name of religion. This, no doubt is a disservice to the very religions they stand for.

The advancement of a religion could not be measured by the increase in the head count compared to a previous period, but by the advancement of virtues in the minds of its followers. The incidents that took place on Sunday and the situations that led to them  definitely point to a deterioration of such virtues and thereby prove the disservice done by the very followers of those religions to the same religions.

The country is in the brink of a UN investigation on human rights violations. The US-sponsored resolution that was adopted last March at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva was the basis for the UN probe that is to be started next month. This resolution speaks of increasing religious intolerance in Sri Lanka, hence, needless to say that the incidents like those that took place in Aluthgama and Beruwala would have strengthened the position of the adversaries of the country.  What benefits the country and its people have gained with such a heavy price to pay is the moot point before us.

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