Bishop of Mannar, Most Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph said he never stood for the separation of the country nor rejected any viable political solution to the national question. The Bishop made this statement in response to the lead story published in The Nation last week titled “Mannar Bishop, TNA Resurrect LTTE’s ISGA Demand”.
Following is the full text of his response.
My attention has been drawn to the news headline captioned “Mannar Bishop, TNA Resurrect LTTE’s ISGA Demand” on the front page of “The Nation” of Sunday 14th April 2013, Your report states that the Bishop of Mannar, along with a group op of Tamil MPs and civil society representatives, has urged the visiting Indian Parliamentarians to press the Sri Lankan Government towards establishing a self governing mechanism for Tamils in the .North and East. Your report also claims that this group told the Indian visitors that they reject any solution that is based on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution or one that went beyond it.Further, your report is accompanied by a separate story, also on the front page, titled “Perceptions or Bishop Rayappu Joseph”, in which views purportedly expressed many years ago about Bishop Rayappu Joseph by certain selected persons have been reproduced.In this context, I have neither stood for the separation of the country nor at any time rejected any viable political solution to the national question. Therefore, your report is totally Inaccurate and misleading. Secondly, your portrayal of the so-called “perceptions of Bishop Rayappu Joseph” speaks of an unmistakable bias and has to be construed as having a mischievous intent. Clearly also, it is an attempt to bring me into disrepute and tarnish my image.I wish to reiterate that as a Catholic Church leader who has always had the welfare of my people at heart, I never hesitated to voice for their rights and well-being. This is clearly borne out by my submissions to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission which I would urge you to study in detail.Finally, since you have chosen to give front-page publicity to the reports in question. I would ask to give equal prominence also to my response.
Most Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph
Bishop of Mannar
Bishop Joseph has not denied that he called for a new version of the ISGA. Neither has he denied the allegations regarding his political affiliations and preferences. He has most certainly stood with and in many ways defended those who sought to divide the country, including the LTTE. ‘The Nation’ also notes that the Tamil National Alliance maintains silence over the news item which we carried last week, which was based on the reports of the Jaffna based Intelligence Units