As in 16 other districts throughout the country, the Kandy District Inter Religious Committee (DIRC) meets regularly. The committee represents a common voice across all religions. While one channel of communications is media or press statements by religious leaders on provincial level, it is also a meeting platform for collective thought of all committee members including CBO and CSO representatives.

During a meeting earlier this year, it was suggested that a possible root cause for religious conflict lies in history. History in the sense that none of the major religions are the country’s own but have been “imported from outside”, meaning that religious leaders have not been given enough space to develop their own religious identities as Sri Lankans to better address conflict issues and communicate within their respective religions.

The constitution provides for freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to change religion. At the discussion in the DIRC it was pointed out that while Buddhism is given the “foremost place” among the country’s religious faiths, it has one unique thing in common with Hinduism, Christianity and Islam: they are not native to Sri Lanka and all have a history from different parts of the world. Therefore, one could assume that even the major religions in Sri Lanka continue to develop their own identities. For a country that is in the process of finding ways to heal the wounds of a three decade long ethnic conflict, religion’s penetration into everyday life threatens the diverse fabric of society.

In a country grappling with various social, political and cultural conflicts, pluralism offers a beacon of hope. NPC consistently invites participants and actors in its networks to transcend these divisions and counter polarising narratives that challenge a harmonious coexistence.

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The National Peace Council (NPC) was established as an independent and impartial national non-government organization