President Rajapaksa has pointed out that this year the people were able to view the Esala Perahera without any fear.
The President said the Esala Perahera was more colourful this year while it was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. More foreigners were also there. This was possible as the country has now been united. Earlier the people had to view the Perehera with fear. The President was of the view that the country should now consider how the peace and unity gained should be protected. The President stressed that the unification will not be confined to the land alone as the country will be developed as a whole. The culture has to be preserved. He said that the culture of the country could be presented to the world today as it was preserved in the past. The traditional arts as well as artistes should be protected. The country could be built in terms of religion and culture due to such reasons.
The President was speaking at a function organised to handover the Sannasa, reporting the successful completion of the Perahera. The Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela handed it over to the President according to ancient traditions. The President presented awards to the artistes who participated in the Perahera. Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne was present. First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Governor of the Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa and Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake were among the other present.