Indian envoy meets monks over attacks

The High Commissioner of India met senior Monks of the Maha Sangha today, to address their concerns about the two recent incidents involving assaults on Sri Lankan Buddhist monks in Tamil Nadu, the Indian High Commision in Colombo said.
At the meeting the High Commissioner has underlined that the isolated incidents did not reflect the strong people-to-people bonds that have been an integral part of the close historical, cultural and civilizational ties between the two countries.
In this context, he recalled the statement of the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India on 19th March 2013, expressing concern and reiterating that the state government of Tamil Nadu had taken immediate action to identify and prosecute the miscreants responsible for these incidents.
The meeting at India House today was attended by the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero; Ven. Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thero; Ven. Kirima Wimalajoti Nayaka Thero; Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thero; Ven. Thiniyawala Palitha Thero; Ven. H. Kondangna Thero; Ven. Galagoda Attha Gnanasara Thero and Mr. Vasantha De Silva, Secretary Mahabodhi Society.
The monks underlined the need for a closer dialogue between civil society and religious leaders on the two sides, to avoid such incidents. A proposal to initiate such a dialogue would be pursued in the coming days and months.
The High Commission noted that the cultural interaction between India and Sri Lanka had been intense, resulting in constant cross-fertilization in the spheres of art, literature, culture and philosophy.
“People-to-people contacts constitute one of the fundamental pillars on which the edifice of the bilateral relationship rests. It is noteworthy that nearly 250,000 Sri Lankan nationals visited India and over 175,000 Indian nationals visited Sri Lanka in 2012. Sri Lanka’s bonds with India, including the state of Tamil Nadu, are historic and go back many centuries. A substantial number of the Sri Lankan nationals visiting India travel through Chennai, be it for purposes of tourism, pilgrimage or shopping. Of the 128 flights connecting Indian and Sri Lankan cities, 76 involve destinations in Tamil Nadu. In order to get a true perspective, the isolated incidents of attacks on Sri Lankan nationals should be seen against these important facts,” the High Commission said. (Colombo Gazette)