Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka President amends terms of reference, members of Gazette on One Country, One Law

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has amended the terms of reference of the controversial Gazette pertaining to the Presidential Task Force for One Country, One Law. Ramalingam Chakrawarthy Karunakaran, Yogeswari Patgunarajah and Iyyampillai Dayanandaraja have been appointed as new members.

The terms of reference was amended to include ‘Presenting proposals for formulating a conceptual framework ideally suited for Sri Lanka after making a study of the said concept taking into account the views and opinions held by various parties with regard to the implementation of the concept: “One Country, One Law”.’

Prof. Dayananda Banda and Lecturer Mohamed Inthikab have relinquished their membership from the task force.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had appointed a hardline Buddhist monk accused of inciting violence against minority Muslims as the head of a government panel to study the concept of one country-one law.

The controversial appointment Galagoda Atte Gnanasara, who was previously imprisoned for contempt of court and is known for his outspoken nationalist views, Wednesday sparked a cry from rights defenders.

Gnanasara was serving a jail term for contempt of court when the then-president Maithripala Sirisena pardoned him in May 2019.

The 13-member task force was to study ‘one country-one law’ and draft a bill to promote its concept in the island nation, ostensibly to ensure all citizens get equal treatment regardless of their ethnicity, religion, and caste.

However, human rights activists opposed that Gnanasara is the right person to head the group.

“This is an insult to people who can think. To the people who are lawful in this country,” Sandya Ekneligoda, wife of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, told reporters.

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