In a surprise move, the Sri Lankan government has sought the advice of Kanchi Sankaracharya, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, on promoting communal harmony in the island nation and religious ties between the people of the two south Asian neighbours.
On Wednesday last, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s representatives, including Saman Athaudahetti, Additional Secretary (Media) at the PM’s Office, met the seer at Kancheepuram .An official in the Ministry of Hindu Religious Affairs said: “Perhaps this is the first time that the government has taken such a step.”
Pointing to the long association between Sri Jayendra Saraswathi and Mr. Wickremesinghe, Mr. Athaudahetti told The Hindu on Sunday that the views of the seer were sought on Colombo’s proposal on establishing a forum to bring adherents of Hinduism and Buddhism closer.
“We have also requested him to assist us in providing training to temple priests and Tamil teachers,” he said, adding that a “favourable response” was expected soon.
The latest initiative may be viewed as one more conciliatory act towards Tamils.
President Maithripala Sirisena, in his recent address to the nation, strongly defended the government’s policy of returning lands, held by the security forces earlier in the high security zones, to the owners. A few days ago, Mr. Sirisena, cancelled the allocation of 818 acres of land in Sampur of the Eastern Province to the Board of Investment (BOI) allowing the resettlement of Tamils, who have been living in temporary shelters for over 10 years . Last week, he also participated in an event organised by the Kamban Kazhagam in Colombo.