5,000 MOTHERS WAIT IN RAIN
DRAMA and contradictions highlighted moves made last week by Ceylon Catholics to save their schools from being finally " nationalised ".
Yesterday, December 1, had been announced as dead-line for transfer of schools to unconditional government control by Mrs. Bandaranaike, Ceylon's prime minister. But on Friday last, and hearing a wooden cross before them, 5,000 Ceylonese mothers marched at 6.30 in the morning to her residence. They were to appeal to her as a mother herself (she had gone to a Catholic school, and so had her daughters) not to carry out her threats.
WHAT NEXT ?
Mrs. Bandaranaike kept the marchers waiting outside in the pouring rain till past midday; she refused to receive their spokeswomen, though she had earlier promised to do so. Later she said their procession had been engineered for political ends.
That same evening, worried over the rising opposition, site had leaders of Christian churches, including five Catholic bishops, sitting at her home talking the matter over with her, They were with her from 9 p.m. to 3 in the morning.
The bishops must have received some kind of re-assurance, for on Monday they publicly announced that no change would be made, under state management, endangering the character of the Catholic schools. The government, went on the bishops, would reconsider the whcle scheme of the takeover.
Back came Mrs. Bandaranaike's surprising rejoinder, published on Monday immediately after. "There is no question of not implementing the Act, which is now law. The government will maintain order with all its authority."