Mannaar Bishop questions SL defence attitude behind blocking prison visit
Stonehearted persons and officials in the island are a hurdle to the possibility of bringing reconciliation between the Tamil and Sinhala people, Bishop of Mannaar Rt Rev Rayappu Joesph told TamilNet this week citing how the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry scuttled a joint visit by him and the Bishop of Anuradhapura Rt. Rev. Dr. Norbert Andradi to Anuradhpura prison when the religious leaders were scheduled to visit the 60 Tamil political prisoners to deliver a message of hope and some basic assistance on the Easter Sunday. It is this attitude, which is prolonging the limits of achieving harmony and reconciliation between the Sinhalese and Tamils, the Bishop said.
The visit was planned after securing the permission from the SL Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms in Colombo Mr Chandrasiri Gajadeera, Mannaar Bishop said.
But, the prison authorities phoned at the last minute to the Bishop of Anuradhapura and told him that the scheduled visit was not possible without permission from ‘higher authorities’ after the Bishop of Mannaar had arrived in Anuradhapura on 20th April around 10:00 a.m.
"We were told that it was upto the office of the defence ministry to decide on our visit," the Bishop said.
"There are stonehearted persons and officials in the country of Ilankai today. That is why reconciliation between Sinhala and Tamil people still seems far away. These personalities need to change evolving their attitiude into a positive one, abandoning their bad deeds and start to respect human beings, be it Tamil prisoners or others, if the country is to embark on a path towards reconciliation," the Bishop said.