Political analysts are alarmed over the comments made by the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, who called for the ban of ethno religious parties in the country.
This would essentially eliminate certain minority parties from the domestic political sphere, they warned.
The Cardinal made these remarks while delivering a homily at the National Day of the Sick in the basilica of Our Lady of Lanka in Tewatte.
Responding promptly to this statement, former minister Mangala Samaraweera in a twitter message noted that “Banning ethno religious parties is an extremely dangerous proposal as all views and beliefs, however extreme, is best represented in Parliament."
Samaraweera, an astute politician and a former minister of foreign affairs and finance, is quite right to call out the Cardinal for his remarks. In a democracy, supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
Sri Lanka has undergone two JVP insurrections and almost three decades of war due to LTTE's terrorist activities following the proscription of parties which had an ethno religious background.
Banning such parties and preventing them in voicing their concerns in parliament will push the country into another period of terror and violence and that is dangerous, political analysts pointed out.
Samaraweera also claimed that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith is "batting for Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yet again" by preparing the groundwork to raise the cut off point of the percentage of votes polled in elections depriving minority parties of its representations in parliament.
Political analysts said there was a very noticeable change in the tone of his holiness Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith during pre-election and post election periods.
The Cardinal’s preaching has taken a completely political flavour, clearly aimed at toppling the good governance Government in power and bringing Mahinda Rajapksa back in power, they noted
He in fact, has directly said so and it has happened in accordance with his wishes. The Christian block vote can certainly cause pain for any party.
What is unfortunate is that these days, there is little or no reference to the scriptures in the Cardinal’s sermons or to the forgiveness that his faith is based on.
The clergy of all denominations in this country will do well to first look after their religion rather than become pawns for power hungry parties, several senior politicians said.
Given the way things are going, it is now only a matter of time before the Muslim and Hindu clergy too join the fray and fight for their share of the political cake.