Tuesday, 22nd June 2021

No priest or politician can decide who is guilty: Minister Mangala

Colombo, Jun 6(BAN/CD): In a lengthy statement issued to the media, titled ‘The Cardinal Truth’, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that the Constitution does not give any power to politicians, priests or social media platforms to decide who is guilty or innocent of any crime, including terrorism.

“Deciding who is guilty or innocent of any crime is a sacred duty left to our judges, after a police investigation and fair trial. In a country with such a proud tradition of justice, where all citizens were once entitled to be considered innocent until proven guilty, people including a cabinet minister have been declared guilty without evidence, and the police have literally invited public complaints against these targeted four individuals in order to find them guilty of something – anything. Racists and xenophobes have hijacked our justice system and literally turned it upside down,” he said.

There is a process for criminal investigation to take place, for evidence against them to be presented in the court and justice to take its course, if it is Rishad Baithudeen or anyone else has committed a crime, he said.

He further added that everyone should know how Baithudeen had earned the ire of SLPP and its minions by refusing to support an illegal government. “Mark my words, had he supported Mahinda Rajapaksa in parliament last year, there would not have been a no-confidence motion against him,” said Minister Mangala.

The minister said that there will always be people whose survival depends on dividing the country along sectarian lines, no matter how many strides Sri Lankans have taken to become a more united country.

“It cannot be said too many times that most Tamils had nothing to do with the LTTE, most Sinhalese did not support the JVP insurrections, most Muslims abhor and denounce radicalization of their Islam, and most Catholics and other Christians are disgusted by the attempts of a few to legitimise a racist and religiously motivated witch hunt.” he said

One should be wary of political parties, media organizations and religious leaders that depend on Sri Lankans being afraid of one another for their survival, he advised, as they try to divide the people to garner more support for their own parties.

The minister also lauded Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike who showed courage and humanity to unite the country despite being shot in the abdomen, while he had every reason to hate and seek vengeance from the perpetrators.

Instead he appealed to show compassion to the perpetrator. “I appeal to the people of my country to be restrained and patient at this time,” he said.

I am a devout Buddhist, not because I say so, but because I believe deeply in the tenets of Buddhism and the teachings of the Buddha. I believe that when our Constitution calls upon our country to “give to Buddhism the foremost place” and to “foster the Buddha Sasana”, this means defending the values the Buddha preached, such as compassion, tolerance and peace,” the Prime Minister added.

 

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