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Sri Lanka looks for national unification through language

[PTI, Thursday, 24 November 2011 13:34 No Comment]

(PTI) Sri Lanka has taken steps to address one of the main causes of the ethnic tensions which had led to the decades old separatist conflict in the island nation by motivating people to be trilingual, officials said.

People will be encouraged to be conversant with Sinhala, Tamil and English under a national action plan.

The language discrimination was a main ground exploited by the LTTE to wage war to create a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east provinces.

The Cabinet has approved a proposals by president Mahinda Rajapaksa that far-seeing initiatives are needed to be taken to prevent the resurgence of terrorism which ravaged the country for over three decades, Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukawella said.

"The government has decided to declare year 2012 as the Year for a Trilingual Sri Lanka aimed at motivating the people to acquire trilingual skills.

It is necessary to encourage the people of Sri Lanka to communicate effectively in all three languages that will foster co-existence among different ethnic communities through mutual understanding" Rambukwella said.

The Tamil minority in the early period of independence since 1948 pressed for parity for Tamil alongside the majority Sinhala language.

The problem escalated with the 1958 legislation which made Sinhala the only official language.

In the late 80s however measures were taken to address the language disparity when Tamil was named an official language with English being named the ”link language”.

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