(Lanka-e-News -05.Feb.2017, 4.00PM) The 69 th independence celebrations of Sri Lanka was held at Galle Face green , Colombo on the 4 th morning headed by president Maithripala Sirisena with full honors while austerity was the key .
‘National harmony’ was the theme of this year’s celebrations , yet opposition leader R. Sampanthan or northern province chief minister Wigneswaran were not present at the event. When we inquired about the absence from a spokesman of the ministry of home affairs , it was learnt , Sampanthan most gladly accepted the invitation but had informed he has to attend the celebrations organized in the district , and therefore cannot participate in the main independence day celebrations .
Though the Northern province chief minister too was invited , until 3rd evening he had not responded to the phone calls and failed to confirm his participation . However a seat was allocated to him , the spokesman further noted.
In any case , all religious leaders and prelates attended the celebration . This year in keeping with the theme of the celebration , the celebrations were begun with national anthem in Sinhala , and was concluded by playing the national anthem in Tamil .
Vajira Abeywardena the minister of home affairs welcomed president Maithripala Sirisena and the first lady , as well as the prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe . After the president hoisted the national flag , the independence day celebrations were commenced.
110 students of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim schools took part in the singing of the national anthem in Sinhala at the inauguration of the celebration , and a 21 gun salute was accorded to mark the occasion.
The president who made the inaugural address , said , there are over 6000 languages in this world , and the word ‘independence’ exists in every language. This word bestows prestige he added. The meaning of independence which prevailed before 1948 is not what prevails now after independence , and that relates to extensive human independence and binding attachment , the president highlighted. (the video footage of the full text of president’s speech can be viewed by clicking on the line at the end of this report) .
Following the speech of the president , the guard of honor accorded by the forces and their displays added color to the celebrations . 7920 officers of the three forces and the Police force participated in the march past and guard of honor . This included the army , Air Force ,Navy , Police , civil security forces, as well as the student forces. The acrobatics of the parachutists were most breathtaking and was everybody’s favorite. Incidentally , the police task force too taking part in the parachute display this year was exceptional .
The ministry of justice in conjunction with the 69 th independence day celebrations has decided to grant reprieve to 60 prisoners who are sentenced to death . The punishment is to be changed into life sentence .
The video footage covering the full event can be watched by clicking on the line below …
by (2017-02-05 10:51:49)
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