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Banning burqas and madrasas would have impacted rights – NPC

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National Peace Council (NPC) yesterday welcomed the government’s announcement that proposed laws to ban the wearing of the burqa and closure of a thousand Muslim madrasas on the grounds of national security were being reconsidered.

Issuing a press release, the NPC said that it was worried that such moves would have polarised the country further.

“These proposed laws are overbroad and severely impacted upon cultural and religious rights. The wearing of the burqa for instance can be regulated so that the identity of the wearer can be ascertained at security checkpoints and the madrasas would be required to register with the education authorities and undergo necessary supervision instead of being shut down. There should be equivalent provisions for the non-discriminatory registration of Sunday schools of other religions as well,” the NPC said.

The NPC added that were perturbed by the government’s proposed de-radicalisation law that will enable public officials to detain persons they suspect of preparing for violence or spreading of disaffection between communities and have them sent off to rehabilitation centres. Such a law could be misused heavily as it would be akin to an arbitrary weapon given to public authorities which could undermine democracy and freedom of speech in the country.

” We call on the government to reconsider all three proposed laws as overbroad and not in keeping with the ethos of a multi ethnic, multi religious and plural society that Sri Lanka truly is, or for that matter any democratic country. We call on government spokespersons proposing legislative changes or making public statements to take care not to add to the polarization of communities at political and religious levels and to empathise with the feelings and aspirations of minority communities in addition to that of the majority,” NPC said,

The NPC added that the country is facing difficult challenges due to internal and external pressures which is increasing the level of frustration within the society and issues such as Covid-generated economic downturn, fallout of the Easter bombing investigation, sugar tax scam and impending UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka need to be dealt with sagaciously.

“These challenges can best be met if the government is able to mobilise a consensus within the country that unites the people of all ethnic and religious communities in a common stance behind the government,” NPC said.



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“Operation ‘Yukthiya’ will persist despite pressure” – Minister of Public Security

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Minister of Public Security, Mr. Tiran Alles, attending a news conference held at the Presidential Media Centre today (21) under the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’.emphasized his unwavering commitment to continue operations aimed at suppressing drugs, tackling the underworld and preventing violence against women and children, regardless of any pressure encountered.

Furthermore, Minister Alles disclosed that operation ‘Yukthiya’, which commenced on December 17, has resulted in the seizure of narcotics valued at Rs. 7.8 billion and assets including vehicles and buildings confiscated by law enforcement amount to Rs. 725 million. . A total of 58,562 raids have been conducted, leading to the arrest of 58,234 individuals involved in illicit activities.

 

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SLNS Samudura leaves for Maldives to take part in Exercise Dosti – XVI

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Sri Lanka Naval Ship (SLNS) Samudura left for the Maldives from the port of Colombo on Tuesday (20)  to take part in Exercise Dosti – XVI. The trilateral exercise ‘Dosti’ is scheduled to be held in Male from 22nd to 25th February.

The trilateral exercise ‘Dosti’ aims to enhance cooperation, strengthen friendship, improve mutual operational capability, and develop interoperability among the Coast Guard personnel of India, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

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“Sri Lankan unity paves the way for rapid national development” – President

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Sri Lanka’s Chief Scout, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his address at the 10th National Scout Jamboree held at the Koneswara Hindu Vidyalaya Stadium in Trincomalee this morning (21), underscored the potential of Sri Lankans to steer the nation towards rapid development and fortify its security for future generations through unified efforts.

The President highlighted that participation in the National Scout Jamboree transcends divisions of caste and religion. He articulated that unity among Sri Lankans, spanning from the North to the South and from Colombo to Trincomalee, is pivotal in accomplishing shared objectives.

President Wickremesinghe pledged his support for the expansion of the Scout Association, noting its role in nurturing responsible citizens essential for the country. Furthermore, he announced the plans to facilitate collaboration between the Scout Association and the Ministry of Technology, underscoring the importance of leveraging interactions across sectors for national development.

(PMD)

 

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