Explained: Sri Lanka’s ‘One Country, One Law’ Task-force

The campaign gained added impetus after the 2019 Easter suicide attack in which over 270 people, including 11 Indians, were killed. The attack was blamed on the extremist Islamic group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ).

Published: October 29, 2021 8:24 PM IST

By India.com News Desk | Edited by Analiza Pathak

Explained: Sri Lanka's 'One Country, One Law' Task-force
This photo shows the St. Sebastian's Church damaged in blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 21, 2019. (AP Photo)

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa recently appointed a hardline Buddhist monk, known for his anti-Muslim stance, as the head of a 13-member task force for the establishment of the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept. It is to mention that the ‘One Country, One Law’ was an election slogan of Rajapaksa in 2019 when he was elected president with overwhelming support from the nation’s Buddhist electorate.

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According to PTI, Galagodaaththe Gnanasara, the hardline Buddhist monk, is a controversial figure in Sri Lanka. His Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or the Forces of Buddhist Power, was implicated in the anti-Muslim riots in 2013.

Now, the Buddhist monk has been entrusted with the job of preparing a draft for the implementation of the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept. It is worth noting that the newly formed task force has four Muslim scholars as well, but it has no representation for the minority Tamils or women.

One Country, One Law–Explained

  • The appointment of the Presidential task force comes months after a Cabinet decision to amend the country’s Muslim personal laws.
  • Sri Lanka also has the Kandyan Law and Thesawalamai Law, pertaining respectively to the Sinhalese and Tamil community.
  • The concept, meanwhile, was promoted by the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) in a bid to win the support of the Sinhala majority as a counter to the rising extremism.
  • The task force, according to the gazette, is to “make a study of the implementation of the concept; One Country, One Law” within Sri Lanka and prepare a draft Act for the purpose and submit a report by February 28, 2022.

The campaign gained added impetus after the 2019 Easter suicide attack in which over 270 people, including 11 Indians, were killed. The attack was blamed on the extremist Islamic group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ).

Nine suicide bombers, belonging to local Islamist extremist group NTJ linked to ISIS, carried out a series of blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, killing over 270 people and injuring more than 500 people on April 21, 2019.

The Buddhist-majority nation was about to mark a decade since ending a 37-year-long Tamil separatist war in May 2009 when the bombings in 2019 rocked the country.

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Published Date: October 29, 2021 8:24 PM IST