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Sri Lankan bishop protests: CEN 8.24.07 p 9. August 24, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of Ceylon, Church of England Newspaper.
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THE BISHOP of Colombo, Duleep de Chickera has denounced proposals from the Sri Lankan education ministry for schools to hold rallies in support of a government victory over rebel Tamil forces.

Last month the country’s education ministry ordered schools to celebrate the ‘victory’ of government forces following the capture of the Tamil Tigers’ jungle stronghold in Eastern Ceylon. “The indoctrination of trapped school communities,” Bishop de Chickera said on July 27, “with programmes highlighting images of war and the enemy is a serious violation of the vulnerability and dignity of our children, and must be condemned.”

There were no ‘winners and losers’ in Ceylon’s ethnic civil war between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil populations, he said.

“The recent escalation of the war agenda and war euphoria through special commemorative events is cause for concern,” he argued. “All who love and care for children, especially parents, educationalists, teachers and religious leaders, should counter this trend”.

Over 70,000 people have died since 1983 in the ethnic strife between separatist Tamil groups in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka and the government. Ethnic Tamils account for 18 per cent of Sri Lanka’s 19 million people, while Sinhalese-speaking people, most of whom are Buddhists, make up 70 per cent of the population.

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