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Sri Lanka: Cabinet Minister Says Caritas Wants Anarchy


Caritas yesterday dismissed allegations from a senior cabinet minister accusing the Church’s social arm of involvement in a major conspiracy to create anarchy within the country.

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said Caritas members had organized recent farmers’ 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.

“Caritas provided buses for the farmers to go to the protests and gave them food as well,” said Sirisena, who is also the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s general secretary.

“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,” the minister said at a public meeting at the weekend in Colombo.

Farmers groups and Caritas said the allegations are completely groundless.

The protests were organized by the Joint National Program for farmers, fisheries and labor organizations, said Nihal Winadhipathi, a farmer’s representative.

“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,” Winadhipathi said.

“It is our fundamental right” to protest, he said.

“Caritas or any other organization did not provide buses or meals. Many priests and Buddhist monks came to offer moral support,” he said.

Church officials called Sirisena’s UNHRC allegation an “absolute lie.”

“We did not send anybody to the UNHRC meeting in Geneva … it is an absolute lie. Instead, the Church worked closely with the government to support the cause of the country,” said Bishop Harold Anthony Perera, Chairman of the Catholic National Commission for Justice, Peace and Human Development.

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The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

2 thoughts on “Sri Lanka: Cabinet Minister Says Caritas Wants Anarchy

  • March 28, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Maithripala Sirisena is a serious politician. He is not wimal or Mervyn. I have seen myself that various NGOs organizing strikes and calamity. why dont they send them packing

  • March 29, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Minister Sirisena is more serious than most of his colleagues. That does not mean that his judgement about caritas is right. If it went to Geneva to speak against the country why could it not have persuaded the Phillipines to at least abstain?


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