SLFP's senior vice president Nimal Siripala De Silva said the proposals presented to the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee by his party for enactment so as to quell new forms of terrorism and extremism has made much progress.
He said the 11-point set of proposals envisages to promote interfaith harmony while putting an end to extremism and fundamentalism and includes the close monitoring of social media and the proscribing of face veils like the burqa, hijab and full face helmets.
Mr. De Silva told a news conference that the SLFP believed that with the enactment of this piece of legislation or an amalgamation with the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) with other necessary amendments, the country would have an extremely powerful and futuristic legislative measure to counter terrorism and extremism and promote interfaith harmony.
The Sectoral Committee chaired by Malith Jayatilake has been meeting regularly during the past two weeks prior to discussing these proposals in Parliament.
The committee has summoned top officials of the Ministries of Justice, Defense, Law and Order, Finance, Religious Affairs, Education and Departments of Immigration and Emigration, Motor Traffic and many other state institutions to discuss how these proposals affect their respective establishments.
“Some of these State institutions have already introduced legislative measures similar to those included in our proposals. Our intention is to finish the job in two months and introduce an Act that would find solutions to the current ills in society,” Mr. De Silva said.
For instance, there must be a comprehensive system to screen tourists coming to Sri Lanka to deliver lectures or preach on religion and culture, conduct seminars or workshops.
Registration of political parties on religious, caste or regional lines has to be banned and there must be a common law on religious centers, places of worship and prayer centers.
Formation of Ministries separately on religious lines must be stopped and there must only be one Ministry of Religious Affairs to take care of all religions. The Emigration and Immigration law has to be further strengthened with national security in mind to suit the present day needs and there must be a monitoring mechanism to keep a tab on foreign funds to various religious, cultural and social organizations and their origin. They must come through the Central Bank.
New laws to control and prevent the internet, face book, whatsapp and other social media platforms from using them to spread interfaith mistrust, character assassination and other propaganda detrimental to national security.
UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera said the UPFA was ready to discuss these proposals with the UNP, SLPP, TNA, SLMC and all other political parties and social organizations to convince them of the importance of passing them in Parliament sooner than later.
MP Duminda Dissanayake said the oversight committee was scheduled to meet next week to discuss the proposals further. (Sandun A Jayasekera)