Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader Rauf Hakeem said yesterday they were not against giving priority to Buddhism in the new Constitution but also highlighted the need to include provisions where other religions are treated with dignity and respect.
“We are not against giving priority to Buddhism but provisions should be included in the constitution to ensure other religions are respected as well and include a ban to differentiate other religions,” he said.
Speaking during the debate in the constitutional assembly, he said some people were creating fear among the people about unitary state, the place given to Buddhism, amalgamation of the North and East and a federal State.
“The Sri Lanka Bar Association (BASL) had raised several questions, including the unitary character of the State in the future. I am surprised to hear that a professional organisation like the BASL was posing such questions when it was clearly mentioned in the proposals. I suspect they were acting as a cat’s paw to create a wrong opinion among the people,” he said.
He said the amalgamation of the North and East was just an alternative proposal of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and added that it does not mean that the proposals highlighted the need to do so.
“The TNA has a right to make such a proposal. We have discussed the matter with the TNA. But Tamil leaders have said that they would not do so without seeking the opinion of the people in the East,” he said.