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Sri Lankan president adds 3 Tamil community members to 'One Country, One Law' task force

There have been representations by various parties with regard to the composition of the task force.

Published: 10th November 2021 07:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th November 2021 07:40 PM   |  A+A-

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (Photo | AP)

By PTI

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday added three members from the minority Tamil community to the Task Force formed last month to prepare a draft Act for the establishment of ‘One Country, One Law' legislation, following representations made by various parties over its composition and membership.

President Rajapaksa, through a special gazette last month, appointed the 13-member task force for the establishment of a "One Country, One Law" concept in Sri Lanka and comprised members from the majority Sinhala and minority Muslim communities.

Three members from the Tamil community have been added to the task force, the statement issued by the President Rajapaksa's office said.

There have been representations by various parties with regard to the composition of the task force.

"The President has appointed three new members to the Task Force “taking into consideration the representations made by various parties with regard to the composition of the membership and Terms of Reference of the said Task Force and, focusing on the need for the pluralistic character and gender equity of the Sri Lankan Society to be reflected in the composition of the membership of this Task Force, as per the terms of reference of the Task Force,” Colombo Page reported.

The Three Tamilians include Ramalingam Chakrawarthy Karunakaran, Yogeswari Patgunarajah and Iyyampillai Dayanandaraja as additional members of the Task Force, the report said.

While Patgunarajah was the mayor of Jaffna, the capital city of Tamil dominated Northern province, the other two names are not much known.

Apart from the new additions, two members of the task forces-- Professor Dayananda Banda and Lecturer Mohomad Inthikab-- have relinquished their memberships of the Task Force, the report said.

The concept of 'One Country, One Law' was a Rajapaksa election slogan in 2019 when he was elected president with an overwhelming support from the island's Buddhist majority.

The task force is headed by Buddhist monk Galagodaaththe Gnanasara, who became a symbol of anti-Muslim hatred in the country.

Gnanasara's Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or the Forces of Buddhist Power was implicated in the anti-Muslim riots in 2013.

Rajapaksa has also amended the terms of reference stating that the Task Force will present proposals for formulating a conceptual framework ideally suited for Sri Lanka after making a study of the said concept taking into account the views and opinions held by various parties with regard to the implementation of the concept, ‘One Country, One Law'.

The 'One Country, One Law' campaign gained added impetus after the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide attacks blamed on the extremist Islamic group National Thowheeth Jamaath.

At least 270 people, including Indians, died due to attacks on churches and Colombo star class hotels by the members of the group.

The Task Force has been entrusted with the job of preparing a draft Act for the implementation of the one country one law concept.

The final report is to be submitted by February 28, 2022 after monthly reports to Rajapaksa on its progress.



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