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Govt. to bring in new law to ‘promote religious harmony’

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The Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious, and Cultural Affairs is drafting a new law to promote religious harmony, Minister Vidura Wickramanayaka has said.The Minister said that the new laws would require all religious institutions in Sri Lanka to register with the state.

Wickramanayaka said this would allow the government to track and monitor religious activities, and to intervene, if necessary, to prevent religious conflict.By registering religious institutions, the government would be able to better understand the religious landscape of Sri Lanka, and to take steps to prevent religious conflict, he said.

The Minister said new legislation was necessary due to various issues associated with the management of religious institutions.He would have a bill drafted to promote religious coexistence and maintaining peace to the Cabinet within the next few weeks, the Minister said.

Ministry Secretary Somaratne Vidanapathirana said that the proposed Bill would require owners and administrators of religious institutions to register their temples, mosques, Kovils, churches, and other places of worship.

The Ministry has already registered Buddhist temples and Catholic churches across the country, Vidanapathirana said The decision to register religious institutions had arisen from the need to address the increasing number of such establishments, with concerns raised about potential hidden agendas or associations with political ideologies, Vidanapathirana said.

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