Thursday, February 4, 2010

Celebrating Sri lanka independence

Celebrating Sri lanka independence
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse hoists the national flag during the island's 62th Independence Day celebrations outside the highly venerated Temple of the Tooth in the central town of Kandy on February 4, 2010. Sri Lanka, which won independence from Britain in 1948, marks the first national celebration following the crushing of Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009. AFP
62nd Independence Day has special significance - President

The 62nd anniversary of independence we mark today has special significance being the first such celebration of our freedom since the defeat of terrorism in our country last year, and also as it takes place soon after our people have expressed their firm and resounding commitment to democracy, stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his Independence Day message.
The freedom from colonial rule that we gained 62 years ago is now more meaningful, the President added.
As we move into the new era of peace in our country, we are ready to face the challenges of the future. It is necessary that we give equal priority to the tasks of national reconciliation and the building of trust among all sections of our people, as well as to development that will take us to our rightful place in the community of nations, he continued.
On this historic and significant anniversary of freedom, let us re-dedicate our nation to the ideals of peace, tolerance, mutual trust and progress, in the democratic tradition our people have cherished and protected as the oldest democracy in Asia, President Rajapaksa further stated.
Following is the full text of the message :

Sri lanaka celebrate 62th Independence day

Sri lanaka celebrate 62th Independence day

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the nation at the Independence Day celebrations in Kandy a short while ago gave an assurance that he will use his fresh mandate to regain what the island has lost during the war.

While noting that this is the first celebration since the defeat of terrorism, President Rajapaksa also said that he will rebuild the country especially the areas which were devastated during the 30 year conflict.Later speaking in Tamil, the President said that now the people can live in peace and in safety and go anywhere they wish with no fear or restrictions.

He also said that the country should solve its own problems through dialogue. He also urged the Tamil people not to forget their motherland and said the people should not be misled for petty political gain.President Rajapaksa added that he had not taken any decision which would betray the country and that all his decisions were in the best interest of the nation.

President Rajapaksa says Tamils should work with govt.
Sri Lanka's president called Thursday for minority ethnic Tamils to work with the government to settle their differences but said there would be no self-rule for them, as the country celebrated its first Independence Day since the end of a 25-year civil war.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was re-elected last month by a wide margin, largely because of support from the country's Sinhalese majority, said Tamil leaders should not "misguide" people or harbor political ambitions based on ethnicity or region.
"Let's solve our problems ourselves through discussions," he said in the Tamil language.
Sri Lanka received independence in 1948 - emerging from more than four centuries of colonial rule by the Portuguese, Dutch and then British - and ethnic Tamils have since complained of systematic marginalization in governance, jobs and education.
Those grievances led to the birth of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, known as the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group that fought for decades for an independent state for Tamils in the north and east. The war, which ended in May with the defeat of the rebels, left some 80,000 to 100,000 people dead and many Tamil areas in ruins.
There have since been calls for the government to reconcile with Tamils by offering them a degree of self-rule in provinces where they constitute a majority, but Rajapaksa rejected that Thursday.
"Hereafter, we will not entertain narrow divisions based on race, religion, language and political ideology in terms of regions," he said. "There is no one called a minority in this country, all those who love the country are children of mother Lanka."

He said he intends to give some power to all villages in the country to enable people to look after their own affairs.
"Certainly everyone will get equal facilities. This is what you call equality, this is what you call equal rights," he said.
The main celebration for Sri Lanka's 62nd independence anniversary was held in central Kandy town, near the sacred Temple of the Tooth. The town was also the seat of the country's last kingdom before it fell to the British in 1815.
In contrast to previous years' celebrations, Thursday's military parades were low-key - without the display of heavy guns and artillery - and the general public was allowed to attend. In the past, attendance required a special invitation by the government.