I did not feel like a Paralympian, felt like an actress or a cricketer: Deepa Malik

first_imgMany congratulations on a historic medal at the Paralympics. You became India’s first sportswoman to win a Paralympics medal, you must be thrilled.Deepa Malik: Thank you so much in fact I should be thanking the media for celebrating Paralympics & para-sports. I am both happy and sad that I am the 1st Indian sportswoman to bag a medal at the Paralympics. I am happy that I opened the account for India and hopefully now others will realise that our physically-challenged sportswomen can also win medals at the big stage. I am disappointed because Paralympics are being held since 1968, so why such a long time for our first sportswoman to win a medal at the Games. So I think we will have to ensure that there is not such a long wait again for another medal. For this I urge our athletes and countrymen to come forward and encourage our sportswomen, provide infrastructure and give them an opportunity so that more of them can come forward. (Also read: My handicap is my strength, Paralympic medallist Deepa Malik tells India Today)  So you won a historic medal for India, you returned early on Saturday morning, how was your reception at the airport?Deepa: It was so overwhelming, it was heart warming but at the same time it was a pleasant surprise and it was amazing to see how my nation, my countrymen, how my friends, family, bikers, army, Paralympics committee of India, Ministry and my minister from Haryana Anil Vij was also there in person, but the most touching and heart warming part was that my entire village, in fact there were so many of them all the way from Bhainswal Sonipat that they were not even permitted inside, so it was huge (the reception). For your parents to see you achieve and receive this kind of warmth from everyone is great. Everyone wanted to hold that medal and I could clearly see it in their eyes that it was not mine, it was the country’s medal. To tell you the truth I did not feel that I was a Paralympian, I felt like a big actress or a cricketer (laughs).  Was it a realistic target for you to win a medal, after all you had been winning consistently at the international stage? advertisementDeepa: Every sportsperson has that big dream of being on the Olympic level podium. Somehow Paralympics, that is what we call our level Olympics, has been slipping away. I was so close going to Beijing and it did not happen, for London 2012 I was sure shot that I was going to go but due to lack of quota allocation for women it slipped away. So I had decided that the third time I will not let it go. (Also read: I want to use this silver to support disabled Indian women: Deepa Malik)   Milkha Singh has come out and said that Paralympians should be treated on par with able bodied athletes not just in terms of money but in terms of awards as well. Olympic medallists directly qualify for the Khel Ratna award, what is your view on that?Deepa: I have done my duty by winning a medal and I have brought it to my nation. To my understanding all the policies are at par. We were trained under the Target Olympic Podium scheme exactly the way able-bodied were trained, we were funded, even our outfits and costumes were the same, the venue is the same so I am very sure we will get the same treatment as far as the awards are concerned too.   Your father told us an incident when you had told him that your disability is nothing more than his. You told him that he wears spectacles as he has weak eyes and you use a wheelchair as you have weak legs.Deepa: I think it is just the way we take it because most of the time there is so much melodrama and social taboo and stereotypical reactions. When I was paralysed it felt like everybody had to come and give an attendance the way you come either in a wedding or in a funeral and it was definitely not a wedding. But come on, my legs had died not my soul nor my passion or the person I was. I think my life clearly teaches that it is all about mind over body.   Once you were paralysed, how did you decide to take up sports after that?Deepa: 1999 was when I was actually relegated to the wheelchair or wheelchair bound, but I call wheelchair liberated. I was not the one to be tied down to any disability as such. My major aim was that I have to let the people know that it is okay to be on a wheelchair and we as a family are pretty okay with it. Then I realised that somehow people were not convinced that we could be happy or that I was not sad at being paralysed specially because the hospital I was admitted in was full of war heroes from the Kargil war and my husband himself was at the war. So there was no way that I was going to complain because there were these bunch of soldiers who were coming helicopter after helicopter injured, with an arm or a limb gone or their eyes blown off or a bullet in their spine. They were not complaining and the reason behind my paralysis was illness so I had no business to complain and I had to explain it to people that I am fine. I decided to take up hydro-therapy and that took me to swimming and then swimming in competitions as I learnt at the age of 36 that there are competitions for us. So I became a swimmer and then learnt after that that I am better at athletics so I shifted gears in 2009. You will be surprised that in 2009, at the age of 39, I first held the javelin and the shot-put in my hand and in 2012 I was picking up the Arjuna Award so it has been a very rewarding journey. (Also read: Exclusive: Deepa Malik elated after winning Silver at Rio Paralympics)  So swimming done, driving done (Raid de Himalaya), riding done, you have four World records to your name, so what’s next?advertisementDeepa: I think the major aim is turning this Silver into Gold. Kyonki baby to Gold pasand hai (laughs)  How was your experience over there in Rio?Deepa: It was fantastic in fact I was surprised. There are two games which I have attended which had a very negative hype around them but actually when you were there you realise it was such a beautiful experience. The Commonwealth Games in India were infected with every negativity that could be possible, but as far as the competition ground or the village was concerned it was beautiful. Similarly whatever was the confusion around the Rio Olympics or the Paralympics for example the mosquitoes, the Zika virus and the food, and when it came to Paralympics there was huge row over funds and there was a point when it could have gotten cancelled; but no, we did not find any dearth in anything. The food was amazing, the living conditions were great, the accommodation was beautiful, transportation was there, and competition was amazing so I had a fantastic experience. In fact this time I have no complaints from the Ministry or the government who extended all help to us.Any message to your fellow countrymen?advertisementDeepa: Thank you for appreciating and celebrating and a huge appeal to the whole nation that don’t just forget it in a day or two. Paralympics is a movement which is just in its infancy; you are yet to see the medals that we guys can get. So please cheer, encourage and watch and be a part of the Paralympics.last_img read more

IAFs air warriors summit 7 major peaks across 7 continents

first_imgNew Delhi, Jan 11 (PTI) Air warriors fly high, but some of them prefer to kiss the sky without being in the comfort of a cockpit.A team of five air warriors of the Indian Air Force (IAF) summited Mt Vinson in the icy Antarctica in the last week of December. The force also claims to be the first defence body to summit all major seven peaks across seven continents.Before Mt Vinson, different teams of the Air Force had summited Mt Everest (Asia), Mt Carstenz Pyramid (Indonesia- Australisa continent), Mt Elbrus (Russia-Europe), Mt Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mt Aconcagua (Argentina-South America), Mt McKinley/Denali (Alaska-North America) over the last two decades.Led by Captain R C Tripathi, the only air warrior to be part of all the seven expeditions, the team was flagged off by Air Chief B S Dhanao in December last.Trekking on a huge barren landmass, which is a continent in itself, is a daunting task, admits Tripathi.”Summiting every peak is different. You have different challenges in terms of topography, climate and logistics,” he said.From snow storms that piled up a huge mass of snow outside their tents to the sun which refused to get weary even after shining all day, or the sub-zero temperatures to the arduous treks, the five Air Force personnel saw it all.”This trek was particularly challenging because we had sledged our luggage, which we had not done before for any of our treks,” Tripathi said.On their arrival in Delhi, Tripathi, Wing Co S S Mallik, Squadron Leader Rajesh Mookhi, Sergeant R D Kale and Corp Pawan Kumar– were felicitated by the Air Force chief, both for their feat and for returning back safely.advertisement”When you conquer all the six peaks and you have the last one left, you tend to do mistakes. My only worry was your safety,” the Air Force chief told the mountaineers.The fear seems justified as the force lost two of its personnel during a 2005 expedition to summit Mt Everest.”We dedicate our success to Sqdrn Ldr S S Chaitanya and Sgt Shantanu, whom we lost during our Mt Everest expedition in 2005. We dedicate this achievement to all our martyrs,” Tripathi said.But how does it feel to summit the peaks in all continents?”Mountaineering is a sport where nobody is there to clap for you or cheer you. No one can see the pain and agony. You are on your own in the wilderness. You just have to feel the achievement,” Tripathi added. PTI PR SRYlast_img read more

World Cup 2018: Belgium, England face-off in third-place playoff

first_imgPride will be at stake when beaten semi-finalists Belgium and England face-off in the third-place playoff of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in St Petersburg on Saturday.This will the second meeting between the two sides at this year’s World Cup with Belgium beating England 1-0 in the group stage.In that match both teams seemed reluctant to win and on Saturday they will face each other again in a game they both seem reluctant to play.The two sides must pick themselves up and dust themselves down after suffering the crushing disappointment of semi-final defeats to play for the modest prize of third place in a fixture often criticised as pointless.FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 FULL COVERAGE”It’s not a game any team wants to play,” said England manager Gareth Southgate after his team lost 2-1 to Croatia after extra time in Wednesday’s second semi-final.”Of course, we want to win, we’ll be ready to go again because the team take great pride in their performances. It’s a bit too early after that defeat to think about it.” Boxes with fruit and vegetables are sorted and placed in a special order to depict the flags of Belgium and England (Reuters Photo)His Belgian counterpart Roberto Martinez was similarly unenthused about the game after his side were beaten 1-0 by France on Tuesday.”It’s a difficult emotion to manage. You’re disappointed because you lose the semi-final, and it’s very difficult to see the opportunity of playing another game as a positive,” he said.advertisementRakitic ‘ready to pay any price’ for Croatia’s success in World Cup finalEven so, he said he would try to lift his team.”We need to regroup and recover and see the opportunity. To try to finish third in the World Cup doesn’t happen often. The only time it happened in Belgian football was in 1986, when we finished fourth.”The two teams previously met in their final group stage game when both had already guaranteed a place in the last 16 — with the twist that the side who finished second would land in the easier side of the draw.England unlikely to make wholesome changes for Belgium clashMartinez switched nine players and Southgate brought in eight, a decision he described as a ‘no brainer’ in the circumstances. The third-place match was dropped from the European championship by UEFA following the 1980 tournament but has remained part of the World Cup calendar (Reuters Photo)Belgium won 1-0 and were rewarded with games against Japan, Brazil and France while England played Colombia, Sweden and Croatia but the end result for both sides was the same — semi-final elimination.”Sometimes I think you have to look at the bigger picture and make decisions that might be criticised,” said Southgate at the time.FIFA to investigate discriminatory chants by England fansThe third-place match was dropped from the European championship by UEFA following the 1980 tournament but has remained part of the World Cup calendar despite complaints. FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Both teams are in their second third-place match, Belgium having lost to France in 1986 and England to Italy four years later.It tends to be a high-scoring fixture with each of the last four winners scoring three goals — Turkey in 2002, Germany in 2006 and 2010 and Netherlands in 2014.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more

Viv Richards: Love Kohli’s aggression. Can you imagine us playing in the same team?

first_imgLegendary West Indies batsman Vivian Richards has said he is a big fan of Virat Kohli’s aggression and he is enjoying watching the India captain play an aggressive brand of cricket against the Australians, who are known for their hostility.Richards called Kohli a “special player” and pointed out that the world number one Test batsman is able to give it back because he is good enough to do so.Speaking at a promotional event in the Northeast Indian city of Guwahati, Richards said he found traces of himself in Kohli’s approach, especially with the way he has been dealing with Australia in the ongoing four-Test series Down Under.”Kohli is aggressive. I am a big fan of him. I like good batsman and good aggression. And I like the fact that someone can play Australia like that. I think Virat Kohli is going to give it back to Australia this time. Virat is special and I like that game,” Richards said.”I also played the same game. Can you imagine Viv and Virat playing in the same team?”Virat is good. You are good if you can only reply. If you are not good you can’t reply. Virat is good in that sense.”Richards, who broke several batting records and wooed fans across the globe during his heyday, was known for his inimitable charm. Opposition bowlers relished the challenge of bowling to Richards but once the gum-chewing maverick got going, the only way to keep him silent was getting him off strike.Like Kohli, Richards also enjoyed tough challenges. His record against Australia is a testament to that. He had scored 2266 runs, including five centuries, against Australia and 1760 of them, including four tons, came Down Under.advertisementRichards’ comments come at a time when Kohli has been criticised for his behaviour in the ongoing tour of Australia. Former Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson had called the India skipper “silly and disrespectful” after he had some testy exchanges with his Australian counterpart, Tim Paine in Perth.Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar had slammed Kohli and the Indian cricket team, saying needling opponents was not part of the Indian cricket’s DNA in the past.There is a lot of ground to cover for India to find consistency overseas: RichardsMeanwhile, Richards also appreciated the shift in India’s attitude when it comes to acknowledging the need for having quality fast bowlers to perform well overseas. However, the 66-year-old former West Indies captain insisted the Asian giants need more work to win on the road, consistently.”Earlier, India used to play with four spinners. They now have four fast bowlers. It is good that things have changed. India realised it needs that attitude. But India still get to do well in overseas,” Richards said.”Indian infrastructure have improved. IPL has helped in a big way. It has brought money and the Indian team has got substance. But I think India needs to win overseas and still there is a lot of ground to cover.”Also Read | Aaron Finch on Tim Paine’s banter with Rohit Sharma: He did not take the baitAlso Read | Admire Virat Kohli but he should behave with dignity: Naseeruddin Shah to India TodayAlso See:last_img read more

Crystal’s 2021 Grand Journeys Offer Extended Vacations & Expanded Value

first_imgTravelers can save when they combine select luxury voyages MIAMI, February 1, 2019 – Luxury travelers can maximize their global luxury adventures while also enjoying additional savings as Crystal Cruises unveils its 2021 roster of “Grand Journeys” aboard the award-winning Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. The curated sailings range from 14 to 75 days, combining select existing voyages and offering guests 5% off the cruise fare when they book the extended Grand Journeys. Overnighting in several worldwide destinations and rarely repeating ports, the extended voyages are an ideal option for travelers seeking to expand their explorations with the convenience of booking only once. The Grand Journeys collection makes it easier for guests who choose to combine sailings in order to indulge in longer vacations and explore regions and destinations in more depth, while also adding significant value to the extended voyage. Many of the Grand Journeys span multiple regions over the course of one luxury vacation, while others offer intensive exploration of one region. Guests can spend 75 immersive days traveling throughout Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong, or 37 days on a comprehensive journey through the Baltic and Northern Europe. More diverse Grand Journeys combine South Africa, the Mediterranean, Turkey and Greece; New England and French Canada, the Caribbean and Brazil; and Iceland, the British Isles, Northern Europe and New England. Throughout the voyages, guests will enjoy the elegant atmosphere, amenities and personalized service that underscore the famed Crystal Experience. Both Crystal ships have recently re-debuted with dramatic makeovers that include more butler-serviced penthouse accommodations than ever, new dining venues and concepts, and streamlined and interactive technology to enhance guests’ journeys. Crystal’s 2021 Grand Journeys are now open for booking.  About Crystal The world-renowned Crystal Experience – featuring global journeys with Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, and Crystal Yacht & Expedition Cruises – continues to be the distinctive choice of the world’s most discerning travelers. Crystal has been recognized with top honors in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards for a record 25 years; voted “World’s Best” by the readers of Travel + Leisure for 20 years; and won the “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by Virtuoso for four years (2014, 2015, 2016 & 2018). Crystal is proud to be a platinum partner of the advisors of ASTA. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel advisor, call 888.799.2437, or visitwww.crystalcruises.com. Join the hundreds of thousands who subscribe to the Crystal Insider blog, follow Crystal Cruises’ Facebook page and @crystalcruises on Twitter and Instagram, and engage in the conversation with #crystalcruises.last_img read more

Farrah Fawcett Foundation To Honor Stand Up To Cancer At TexMex Fiesta

first_imgThe Farrah Fawcett Foundation (FFF) announced today its highly-anticipated event, Tex-Mex Fiesta, returns this year for a special evening to honor Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and its Council of Founders and Advisors including Sherry Lansing, Lisa Paulsen, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Pamela O. Williams, Ellen Ziffren, Katie Couric, Kathleen Lobb, and Sung Poblete with The Angel Award for excellence in innovative cancer research.The star-studded event, co-chaired by actress Jaclyn Smith and Dr. Lawrence Piro, will return to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills on Saturday, September 9, 2017. Guests will enjoy a raffle led by George Hamilton and Fred Willard, a special musical performance, a one-of-a-kind live auction, and more. Award-winning restaurant El Cholo will cater the fiesta-style event, a theme inspired by the late Farrah Fawcett and her home state of Texas. The Tex-Mex Fiesta was first held in 2015, and raised over $500,000 to help support the cause. Proceeds from this year’s event will once again benefit Stand Up To Cancer.Farrah Fawcett established the Farrah Fawcett Foundation in 2007 shortly after her own cancer diagnosis, with the goal of finding a cure by supporting cutting-edge research. Since Fawcett’s passing in 2009 from anal cancer, a type of cancer that is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) in up to ninety percent of cases, the Foundation’s President and CEO Alana Stewart has fought to carry out Farrah’s wishes. In 2013, The Farrah Fawcett Foundation joined forces with Stand Up To Cancer to create the SU2C-FFF Translational Research Team, headed by Dr. Ellis Reinherz and Dr. Robert Haddad at Dana Farber in Boston. The Team is now conducting a clinical trial with a therapeutic vaccine for those patients that have no other treatment options. The FFF is also committed to creating patient assistance funds, and supports prevention and awareness programs.“We are thrilled to honor SU2C at our second Tex-Mex Fiesta and to continue raising funds for cancer research in Farrah’s memory,” said Alana Stewart. “Our partnership with SU2C has expedited treatment options for all HPV-related cancers. Farrah wanted to make a difference and this night will help further that goal.”Tickets to “Tex-Mex Fiesta” start at $1,000. To purchase tickets for the event, please contact texmex@jamesgrp.net or (818) 245-6194.last_img read more

Top Chefs Ask New Yorkers To Dine Out For Heroes With Bob

first_imgCelebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli — joined by Mario Batali, Rocco DiSpirito, Tony Fortuna, Chris Santos, and Geoffrey Zakarian — is calling upon New York City’s restaurants and diners to honor our nation’s heroes this Veterans Day through the 4th Annual Dine Out for Heroes, a benefit for the Bob Woodruff Foundation.The Food Network personality and executive chef of Butter Restaurant was drawn to the fundraiser for wounded veterans because of its simplicity.“Dine Out for Heroes is a great way for restaurants to honor those who’ve served while offering diners the opportunity to enjoy a great meal. I am thrilled to lead a culinary council whose goal is to raise awareness for this important initiative,” said Guarnaschelli. “November 11th is Veterans Day and if you are planning on going out to dinner choose a restaurant that is participating in Dine Out For Heroes.”Restaurants wishing to take part simply pledge to donate $1 per customer served on Veterans Day. In addition to Butter, some of this year’s participating restaurants include Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C., Beauty & Essex, Del Posto, Esca, The Lambs Club, The National Bar & Dining Rooms, Otto, The Stanton Social, T-Bar Restaurant and Lounge, and Vandal.Participating restaurants will be highlighted on the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s website, as well as by sponsor OpenTable, making it simple for diners to make reservations. Collateral materials like window clings will be provided to restaurants, a great way to entice customers — including the estimated half-million people who will visit Manhattan to watch the city’s annual Veterans Day Parade.‘Dine Out for Heroes’ is spearheaded by restaurateurs Peter and Penny Glazier, founders of Glazier Works, with Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox, founders of the New York Comedy Festival, and Bob and Lee Woodruff, co-founders of the Bob Woodruff Foundation.“I wanted to create an opportunity that would allow the restaurant industry and the community to offer support to veterans,” Penny Glazier explained.‘Dine Out for Heroes’ (#Dine4Heroes) will follow on the heels of the 11th annual Stand Up for Heroes, a collaboration between the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival that has raised more than $40 million to date to support injured service members and their families.Together, these efforts will continue to honor the sacrifice of returning veterans—especially those who have been wounded. To date, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has invested more than $45 million in programs supporting impacted veterans, service members and their families.Dine Out for Heroes is made possible by sponsors OpenTable, Jack Daniel’s, and Performance Food Service Metro NY.Restaurants and diners can learn more about this year’s Dine Out for Heroes by visiting BobWoodruffFoundation.org/Dine4Heroes.last_img read more

PhotoVideo Gallery Old Fort Road slide on October 1st

first_imgPhoto by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by YRB North Peace/Facebook Photo by YRB North Peace/Facebook Photo by YRB North Peace/Facebook Photo by YRB North Peace/Facebook Photo by YRB North Peace/Facebook Photo by YRB North Peace/Facebook Photo by YRB North Peace/Facebook Photo by YRB North Peace/Facebook Photo by YRB North Peace/Facebook Photo by YRB North Peace/Facebook Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newton Photo by Chris Newtonlast_img read more

Luis Suarez Addresses Message of Support for Abdelhak Nouri

Rabat – FC Barcelona star Luis Suarez has addressed a message of support for Dutch-Moroccan Ajax player Abdelhak Nouri who has suffered a permanent brain damage.Suarez shared a picture on Twitter where he is seen, back when he was an Ajax player, alongside Nouri as a child at the Dutch club’s academy. Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is also seen in the photo.“Very sorry because of what happened with Appie, we are with you. STAY STRONG », tweeted Suarez in English and Spanish. Very sorry because of what happened with Appie, we are with you. STAY STRONG ?? #staystrongappie @AFCAjax pic.twitter.com/iGoSEQJ6uz— Luis Suarez (@LuisSuarez9) July 13, 201720-year old Nouri collapsed on July 8 during a friendly game between Ajax and Werder Bremen in Austria.The midfielder was flown to hospital and was later diagnosed with permanent and serious brain damage.“This is the worst possible news we could get. It is devastating. Our thoughts are with his parents, his brothers and sisters and the rest of his family”, said former Dutch goalkeeper and Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar.Several former and current Dutch football stars expressed their grief at the sad news and expressed support for Nouri and his family.Appie, as Nouri is called in Ajax, was a promising young player adored by his team mates and Ajax fans, Goal reported.“Everyone loves Appie,” said Ajax coach Marcel Keizer. read more

UNP slams attempts to sabotage reconciliation efforts

The UNP welcomes the statement of the Cabinet of ministers, the Prime Minister and the President to use the full force of the law against those causing religious tensions, racial hatred and undermining the efforts at reconciliation since the new government came to power. “No individual or organization causing religious tensions should be allowed to escape prosecution. Sri Lanka cannot be pulled back to the dark days of war when tens of thousands of lives were lost. The economic stagnation and international isolation are things of the past,” the UNP said.The UNP noted that however, political forces relegated to the dustbin of history are attempting to exploit extremism and extremists in the hope of returning to power. The UNP says with its strong commitment to national unity and harmony, it will resist such bankrupt political opportunists and urge the authorities to swiftly bring them to justice. They will not prevail.The UNP has faith in the vast majority of Sri Lankans to protect the freedoms they enjoy under the new unity government of President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. (Colombo Gazette) At the January 2015 presidential election as well as the August 2015 general election, the UNP and its allies received a mandate for their reconciliation efforts. The UNP will not waver in ensuring that ethnic peace, religious harmony and rule of law are maintained. The United National Party noted with deep concern the recent attempts by subversive elements to sabotage the reconciliation efforts of the national unity Government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.Malik Samarawickrama, Chairman of the United National Party said that since its founding, the UNP has remained a secular political party fostering unity while building a truly Sri Lankan identity. A corner stone of every religion is non-violence and the respect for others. Those who spread hate and instigate violence are only undermining the faiths they claim to protect.The UNP joins the President and the Prime Minister in urging the law enforcement authorities to bring to justice those responsible for hate crimes. There is no place for religious intolerance and racial hatred in the 21st century Sri Lanka as it emerges a peaceful, stable and a strong economy and a beacon of hope for democracy. read more