Religious Leaders led by Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith is to stage mass protests against drugs in Colombo North on Sunday (March 31).
Cardinal Ranjith told a media conference yesterday that the protests will begin in all Catholic churches after the Sunday services. “We have asked all parish priests to walk down to the road with their congregations after the Sunday service and stage a silent protest holding placards.
“The main event will be at Vystwyke Park where three processions will come from different directions and merge. A mass rally will be held at the park. President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and all religious leaders will participate in the rally. The first group will emerge from Lunupokuna ( Ibabagawatte Junction), along Modera Street, the second group will come from Grandpass church via Totalanga to Aluth Mawatha Road and reach Vystwyke Park though Modara Street. Third Group will begin from Hekitta, through the new bridge, Mattakkuliya, Aluth Mawatha Road and will reach the park via Modera Street.
“Though the President had appointed a task force to combat drugs and many arrests are made but we cannot let things slip away. We call upon Catholics and all men/women of goodwill to help the relevant agencies to destroy the menace completely. It is our Christian duty as well,” Cardinal said, while requesting that Catholics should offer prays for the sake of the country. He added that Catholics should support the relevant agencies to get rid of the social ill. “If there are any Catholics known to be engaged in the drug trade and are not showing any signs of repentance, it is best that the parish churches do not welcome them and do not provide for them any rights that they may have as Catholics to receive holy communion or a burial with a service,,” Archbishop added.
Ven. Thambawita Wimalawansa Thera who also participated in the conference said Buddhist will support the protest march and campaign against drugs as Buddhism is a region which holds the ideology that social ills such as drugs should be eliminated from the world. “ The action that will be taken on March 31 is an appropriate one, ” the Thera said.( Yohan Perera)
Pix by Pradeep Pathirana