Minister of Highways and Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando said he had a difficult task in avoiding pandemonium in Parliament after Tamil National People's Alliance (Tamil Makkal Thesai Kootany) MP C. V. Vigneswaran aroused communalism in his maiden speech in Parliament.
“I, as the Chief Government Whip had to face a difficult task to prevent the government MPs from protesting it. There would have been pandemonium in the House if I did not intervene to calm down the MPs,” Minister Fernando said.
Minister Fernando made this remark at the unveiling of the Buddha disciples' statues at Veheragala Poorana Raja Maha Vihara recently.
“Our government had received a two thirds mandate from the people. Buddhism has been revived after 2020. Buddhism was challenged during the Yahapalana government. Around 60 Buddhist monks had been sent to jail during this time. Venerable Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera was sent to jail for keeping an elephant calf in his temple. However Buddhists and others got the opportunity of worshiping their own religion from 2020,” the Minister said.
“There was an allegation against our government that we have started a construction by clearing a potion of the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. I visited the area together with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The Forest Reserve has not been cleared at all. Few trees have been felled on privately own land. Besides no one had constructed a new road in the area but had only renovated a road which already exists,” he added. (Yohan Perera)