( November 23, 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Canagasabapathy Wigneswaran, Chief Minister for the Northern Province today called for a North – South dialogue in order to end misunderstandings between communities.
Launching a Tamil People’s Council, in Colombo the Chief Minister, speaking Sinhala, Tamil and English explained that building trust between communities was vital and said some of his previous comments made had been misinterpreted and thereby giving a wrong impression in south.
Mr Wigneshwaran, a retired – Supreme court judge said he had lived in various parts of the country including Tangalle where his father was working and then in the Eastern, Uva and Westerrn provinces while serving as a judge and started learning Sinhala in 1955, but gave up the habit in the following year after the ‘Sinhala only policy’ was introduced by the S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike government.
The Chief Minister clarifying his call for withdrawal of the army from the north said that he believed that in the absence of a war or the existence of any armed group the duties can be taken over by the police. ‘We understand there be situation where the army or the Navy is required. For instance in order to control the poaching by Indian fishermen the Navy may be required or similarly in some places the army. If there is a justification it can be accepted’, he added.
‘However, we do not believe that some 150,000 soldiers are required in the North’, he said.
He said the army was currently involved in businesses, cultivation, operating hotels in the north.
Responding to a question as to how the state sector employees engage in haratal campaigns organized by them, he said it was a ‘display of unity’ adding that ‘ it is something you do not find in the south in such issues’.
On a question whether he was against Tamils marrying to Sinhala families, he said ‘how could you say that both of my children are married to Sinhalese’. He said the controversy started after, at a public gathering in the presence of the President he said that the Tamil issues only cannot be resolved by inter-marriages.
Mr Wigneswaran said there was a wrong understanding about Federalism as some feared that it would lead to a division of the country, but in fact it will help to maintain the unitary status of the country.
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