A select committee has been appointed to study and recommend ways and means of ensuring ethnic and religious harmony in Sri Lanka, Parliament was informed yesterday.
Deputy Speaker Ananda Wijesiri who was in the Chair said the select committee would be headed by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and include the deputy speaker, Opposition Leader R. Sampathan, Rauff Hakeem, D. M. Swaminathan, Susil Premajayantha, Dinesh Gunawardene, C. B. Ratnayake, Vijitha Herath, Douglas Devananda, Selvam Adekaranathan, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Gayantha Karunatilleke, Mano Ganesan, Wijedasa Rajapakshe, Ali Zahir Mawlana, John Amaratunga, Thalatha Athukorala and Ranjith Madduma Bandara.
The committee will also look at ways of preventing the propagation of defamatory views that undermine national harmony or the engagement in such activities and the necessity of taking legal action against individuals who engage in such activities. It will discuss the suitability of including hate speech as a crime in the Penal Code, 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 the law when establishing places of worship and erecting statues and look into the possibility of banning news which disturb national amity. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)