Sri Lanka: Cabinet Minister Says Caritas Wants Anarchy
Posted on March 28th, 2012
March 28, 2012
ƒÆ’-¡ Caritas yesterday dismissed allegations from a senior cabinet minister accusing the ChurchƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s social arm of involvement in a major conspiracy to create anarchy within the country.
ƒÆ’-¡ Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said Caritas members had organized recent farmersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ protests and had gone to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva to speak against the government ahead of the war crimes resolution made last week.
ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Caritas provided buses for the farmers to go to the protests and gave them food as well,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ said Sirisena, who is also the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom PartyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s general secretary.
ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Trade union leaders do not know who is running these protests. It is Caritas Sri Lanka, who also went to Geneva to speak against the country,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ the minister said at a public meeting at the weekend in Colombo.
ƒÆ’-¡ Farmers groups and Caritas said the allegations are completely groundless.
ƒÆ’-¡ The protests were organized by the Joint National Program for farmers, fisheries and labor organizations, said Nihal Winadhipathi, a farmerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s representative.
ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Farmers and workers made several demands including an increase in the price of paddy rice because of diesel and kerosene oil price hikes, not to overthrow the government,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ Winadhipathi said.
ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-It is our fundamental rightƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ to protest, he said.
ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Caritas or any other organization did not provide buses or meals. Many priests and Buddhist monks came to offer moral support,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ he said.
ƒÆ’-¡ Church officials called SirisenaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s UNHRC allegation an ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-absolute lie.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬
ƒÆ’-¡ We did not send anybody to the UNHRC meeting in Geneva ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬¦ it is an absolute lie. Instead, the Church worked closely with the government to support the cause of the country,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ said Bishop Harold Anthony Perera, Chairman of the Catholic National Commission for Justice, Peace and Human Development.