08/09/2013, 00.00
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All Sri Lankan religions condemn army attack in Weliweriya

by Melani Manel Perera
Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims take part in a rally inspired by satyagraha (non-violent) in Colombo. People sat in silence, urging the government to "take full responsibility for these brutal killings."

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims-lay people as well as religious leaders-gathered in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, to condemn the deadly shooting incident in the village of  Weliweriya, where soldiers opened fire on civilians who were demanding drinking water, killing three young people.

In order to stress the seriousness of the issue, protesters sat in silence, holding up only postcards, in accordance with the Gandhian principle of satyagraha (loosely translated as 'insistence on truth' or 'truth force') or non-violence.

Organised by the Christian Solidarity Movement (CSM), Wednesday's rally had as theme: 'We condemn the state terrorism that brutalised and killed unarmed civilians'.

Some participants wore white and black clothes to express "opposition to and sorrow for" what happened in Weliweriya.

On Tuesday, Card Malcolm Ranjith, president of the Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka, read a message in which he condemned the violence as "unacceptable and unjustifiable."

A leaflet distributed at the rally said, "The government must take full responsibility for these brutal killings. They cannot wash their hands of this incident".

Satyagraha is a doctrine based on the principles of satya (truth), tyaag (sacrifice) and ahimsa (non-violence).

It was first applied on 11 September 1906, when Mahatma Gandhi called on fellow Indians to refuse cooperation with British authorities and urged them to organise instead peaceful rallies and actions.

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