Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday said the incidents in Kandy had an adverse impact on the tourism industry.
Adding that Kandy witnesses the highest number of tourist arrivals after Colombo, the Prime Minister said; “A large number of Arab nationals, who come to the island as tourists, visit Kandy too. “Many who depend on tourism for a living urged me to restore normalcy in Kandy as soon as possible,” the Prime Minister said.
The Premier also thanked all those who contributed in containing the violence from spreading to other areas of the country.
Participating in a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for a new monastery at the Sedawatte Weheragoda Punrana Viharaya in Wellampitiya on Sunday, the Prime Minister said; “Many feared the wave of racial tensions which started in Kandy might spread to other areas of the country.
“We too had the same doubt, but we were successful in bringing the situation under control,” he said.
“I thank all stakeholders, including the Security Forces and Police personnel and the Maha Sanga for their contributions in this regard”.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, pledging to expedite legal action against those responsible for triggering the violence, observed that the destructive acts of a few people have brought disrepute and a black mark on the Sinhala people.
“We were in the international spotlight due to similar incidents in the past.Such incidents affect the Buddhist community in the whole of South Asia.
People in Middle Eastern countries inquired from me as to what was happening here. News of the violence created by a few destrctive elements had spread like wild fire throughout the world,” the Prime Minister said.
“We fought against each other for 30 years as a result of a terrorist war. As a result, peace and harmony in the country was damaged and unity between the various communities was dented.We are still in the process of restoring that unity,the Prime Minister said.
“First of all, we need to forge a one Sri Lankan identity. The issues between Muslim and Sinhala communities must be resolved through negotiations without resorting to violence. It is the future of Sri Lanka that is at stake when people resort to hatred and violence. We saw how terrorism affected the future of our youth.Can we allow the same thing to happen again?”the Premier questioned pointing out that it is high time to find a final solution to the ethnic problem.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe stressed that even though the use of social media is not an issue to the Government, spreading extremism and violence throught it is a serious problem. “People voted us to power in 2015 expecting a change. Even though we cannot usher in a complete change, I request all to resolve the existing problems through dialogue and negotiation while preserving law and order,” he concluded.