Oct 31, 2021

Sabry not consulted about 'One Country, One Law' task force

Justice Minister Ali Sabry said he was unaware of the setting up of the “One Country, One Law” Presidential Task Force headed by Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagoda-aththe Gnanasara Thera.

Mr Sabry told the Sunday Times he was not consulted on the setting up of the Task Force. “I am not happy about the move,” he said.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued a gazette notification on Tuesday announcing the appointment of a 13-member Presidential Task Force for “One Country, One Law,” with Ven. Gnanasara Thera appointed as its chairperson. The task force’s other members are Prof. Dayananda Banda, Prof. Shanthinandana Wijesinghe, Prof. Sumedha Siriwardana, N.G. Sujeewa Panditharathna, Iresh Senevirathne, Sanjaya Marambe, Eranda Navarathna, Pani Wewala, Moulavi Mohomad, Mohomad Inthikab, Kaleel Rahuman and Azeez Nizardeen.

The Sunday Times understands that none of the task force’s Muslim members was aware that the task force would be headed by Ven. Gnanasara Thera or even that he was going to be a member.

Colombo Municipal Councilor Kaleel Rahuman claimed he was “not informed” that he would be appointed to such a task force and only found out about his inclusion only through the media.

Mr Rahuman had been elected to the CMC from the United Peace Alliance (UPA). Its party leader Basheer Segu Dawood said they would meet next week to discuss the issue. Mr Segu Dawood said the party would take disciplinary action against Mr Rahuman if he chose to accept the position of task force member under Ven. Gnanasara Thera.

Meanwhile, during the government party leaders’ meeting at Temple Trees on Thursday, Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) Vice President and former Provincial Councillor Senthil Thondaman raised issue over non-representation of the Tamil community in the Presidential Task Force. Mr Thondaman told the Sunday Times President Rajapaksa had asked them to propose names of Tamils who should be on the task force and assured that he wpi;d appoint Tamil members to it.

Issuing a statement, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) said it was shocked and dismayed by the establishment of the ‘Presidential Task Force for One Country, One Law’ under the leadership of a “controversial individual.”

The ACJU statement, issued under by its Secretary Ash Sheikh M. Arkam Nooramith, did not mention Ven. Gnanasara Thera by name, referring to him only as a “controversial individual.”