The clashed between the Muslims and Sinhalese that sparked off in Kandy in early February 2018 brought about a distrust among the people of different regions who lived in harmony for centuries. However it is a well-known fact these attacks were organized by few extreme groups with ulterior motives.
The 2018 Sinhala / Tamil New year celebrations organized by the Human Rights Office in Kandy brought together not only leaders of all four major religions but also the faithful to join hands to heal the wounds an reaffirm the trust. Around 175 -225 survivors of Torture, Rape, families of the disappeared and the families of the prisoners came together on the 21st April 2018 to the premises of the Fatima Church in Kundasale - Kandy to celebrate the 2018 Sinhala & Hindu New Year.
It was an occasion to integrate the survivors to their own families and to the larger family, the society. The event also helped the survivors and their families to release their stress and meet courageous survivors of similar Human Rights violations and find strength in them. Majority of the participants being Buddhists & Hindus, celebrated this National event together as a family with joy to mark the dawn of the New Year.
The chief guests, Ven. Dr. Athipla Mangala Thero, Dr. Muzzammil Cader from Samadanam institute, the Hindu priest Rev. Sr. Philomena, the superior of the Padiwatte Convent, and Fr. Nandana Manatunga along the gussets lit the traditional oil lamp to mark the inauguration of the 2018 Sinhala & Hindu New Year celebrations.
The religious representatives then observed their religious rites and spoke of the unity and harmony and the need of bonding as a human family irrespective of differences in language and religion. The annual celebration of the Sinhala & Hindu New Year was another occasion for the survivors coming from different provinces of the country to meet and renew their friendships and collaborate with one objective namely to seek Justice and Redress. Some of the survivor families had started off their journey on the previous day morning to make sure that they are on time for the celebration.
The staff of the Human Rights Office Kandy and the members of the support group organized several traditional New Year events for the participants of different age groups. The participants consisted of survivors and their families, of rape and torture, the families of the disappeared and of the prisoners.
The activities were a relaxation for the survivors as well as a healing; hence await for this occasion. There were special events organized for the staff and the members of the support group by the end of the celebration and prizes were distributed to the winners of different events held during the celebration.
Having shared the mid day meal as a sign of unity, peace and solidarity, the participants returned home with Joy having celebrated the 2018 Sinhala / Tamil New Year gathering.
Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
@ 2019 All Rights Received