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Foremost place for Buddhism in new Constitution, says Ranil (Relevant for GS Mains Paper II)

Sri Lanka PM’s viewpoint over Buddhism supremacy
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s recent remarks that Buddhism would be given the foremost place in Sri Lanka’s new Constitution has sparked concern among sections.
Mr. Wickremesinghe said all political parties and religious leaders across faiths had “no issue in giving priority to protect Buddhism in the country.

Arguments against the supremacy of single religion in a state
Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the main political grouping here representing Sri Lanka’s northern Tamils, argued If equality is a provision, then you cannot give primacy to one religion. They termed the move “exclusionary”.

Sri Lanka’s religious Demography
Buddhists are Sri Lanka’s majority religious group, accounting for about 70 per cent of the island’s population. Hindus are the largest religious minority, constituting 12.6 per cent of the population, while Muslims and Christians, respectively, make up 9.7 per cent and 7.6 per cent.

Concerns over religious intolerance in Sri Lanka
The debate over giving primacy to Buddhism in the Constitution comes amid concerns over apparently growing religious intolerance and alleged Sinhala-Buddhist colonisation in post-war Sri Lanka.
Cautioning that “such an exclusionary” provision might spark tensions and old fears. Experts argue that it should be remembered that it was a similar constitutional provision that privileged one language over the other that eventually became a cause for Sri Lanka’s civil war.

What is Secularism?
If a country does not have an official state religion, it is secular. India does not have a state religion, so it is secular. But Islam is the state religion of Pakistan, therefore Pakistan is not a secular state.

 



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