September 2023

DIRCs Join Walk in Support of Malaiyaha Community

One hundred and eighty District Inter Religious Committee (DIRC) members, including religious leaders, government officials, youth leaders, university students and plantation sector communities, joined the walk of men and women working in the plantation sector organized by Collective for Maanbumigu Malaiyaha Makkal from Thalaimannar to Matale from July 28 to August 12. The walk, retracing the journey of the first group of Tamils brought to Sri Lanka to work on the plantations in the hill country, aimed at focusing attention on taking actions to address the pressing problems of the Malaiyaha community.

DIRC members from the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Kegalle and Kurunegala districts working with NPC’s Plural Action for Conflict Transformation (PACT) project participated in the walk. In Anuradhapura, the DIRC welcomed the group with betal leaves along with giving blessings of religious leaders.

By joining the walk, DIRC members gained an understanding of the history of the Malaiyaha community and the hardships they have undergone as well as the critical problems that persist even after 200 years since their ancestors’ arrival.

Religious leaders, youth and DIRC members will be taking steps to strengthen the process of reconciliation based on experiences from the walk. They will mobilise people from their areas to promote the rights of Malaiyaha community. The DIRCs will plan activities to influence the government to take immediate action.

“As a DIRC member, I always dedicate my time to protect Malaiyaha community rights. Today I came here to be part of this walk. I thank the DIRC for giving me the opportunity to support equal rights for all ethnicities,” said Ven. Chandananda Thero from Kurunegala DIRC.

DIRC members had the opportunity to make contact with different civil society organizations and people who worked for the rights of different communities in the country. As a result, they will be able to make DIRC activities more successful in building a pluralistic society.