Written by Staff Writer
30 Nov, 2019 | 8:36 pm
Colombo (News 1st): Defence Secretary Retired Major General Kamal Guneratne arrived in Kandy today (November 30). Upon his arrival in the ancient city, the Defence Secretary paid homage to the Temple of the Tooth Relic and thereafter worshipped the Sacred Tooth Relic. Following the religious observances, the Defence Secretary responded to questions raised by journalists.
Journalist: There is some sort of a controversial situation in the country. Though the government banned the commemoration ceremony in the North, they are still taking place in certain areas.
Rtd. Major General Kamal Gunaratne: As a government, we do not want to follow a repressive approach. All of this was allowed during the previous regime. In my view, if we are to stop such things immediately after coming to power, it will not be good. We hope to conduct a program in this regard in the future.
Journalist: Will any legal steps be taken with regard to this matter?
Rtd. Major General Kamal Gunaratne: To be honest, there has been no violation of the law. No tense situation was reported either. They have only celebrated the Maaveer day.
Journalist: The TNA said, they are ready to work with the president.
Rtd. Major General Kamal Gunaratne: It is good if they are willing to work together as we have to serve the people of the North. If the regional politicians of the area are willing to support the president, prime minister and the government, I believe this will create a positive impact on those of the North.
Journalist: What is your opinion about the TNA’s requests to give back their lands, and remove military camps from the North.
Rtd. Major General Kamal Gunaratne: Military camps will not be removed. The government is of the view, that the military should be placed in required areas to maintain national security. Therefore, we will not undermine national security at any cost, and will not remove the army camps to fulfill anyone’s requests. An army camp will not hurt or affect anyone. We treat everyone the same, regardless of their religion, community or age. We are prepared to serve everyone equally.
Journalist: A claim continuously being made by the Maha Sanga is, Buddhist temples and archaeological artefacts in the North and East are being invaded and destroyed. What steps will you take in this regard?
Rtd. Major General Kamal Gunaratne: No matter, to what religion or community those artefacts belong to, all artefacts must be protected. We will take steps in this regard in the future.
Subsequently, the Defence Secretary paid homage to the Asgiriya Viharaya and called on the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter Most Venerable Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathna Thero and obtained his blessings.
Thereafter, the Defence Secretary paid homage to the Malwatte Viharaya and called on the Chief Prelate of the Malwatte Chapter Most Venerable Thibbatuwave Sri Sumangala Thero and obtained his blessings.
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