Issuing a statement yesterday, an independent group of eminent Buddhist monks requested people to cast their vote at the forthcoming presidential election to the most capable leader who would protect and preserve the unitary status of the country, ensure national security, enhance and promote local produce and production, pull the country out of the economic mess, strictly enforce law and order and restore civility by eliminating prevailing lawlessness.
“We further appeal to Buddhist clergy and other religious leaders to provide leadership to apprise the public of the need to elect our future President to ensure our country's peace and prosperity,” they said.
The statement had been signed by Ven. Ittapane Dhammalankara, Mahanayake Thera, Ven. Ganthure Assagee Thera, Ven. Waskaduwe Mahindawansa Thera, Ven. Ambewela Paggasara Thera, Ven. Prof. Kotapitiye Rahula Thera, Ven. Prof Kollupitiye Sangarakkitha Thera, Ven Kotapola Amarakiththi Theta, Ven. Prof. Madagama Nandawasa Thera, Ven. Dr. Walpola Wimalagana AnunayakeThera, Ven. Prof. Pallekande Rathnasara Thera, Ven. Mederipiteye Tapassi Thera, Ven. Prof. Kiwlegedara Narada Thera, Ven. Prof. Kahapola Sugatharathana Thera, Ven. Homagama Dammananda Thera, Ven. Omare Kassapa Anunayake Thera, Ven. Prof. Magammana Paghghannda Thera, Ven. Prof. Madagampitiye Wijitha Dhamma Thera, Ven. Kumbuke Chandaloka Thera, Ven. Prof. Agalakada Sirisumana Thera and Ven. Prof. Iththademaliye Indasara Thera.
The statement says, “Sri Lanka is a unique country. Our country's physical assets such as strategic location, climate, geography, environment and water coupled with our esteemed culture, the national heritage enriched with our archaeological endowments elevate our country's standing among the countries in the world to high levels.
“The unfortunate environments that developed during the recent past and devastating events that have taken place have made the Buddhist clergy and other religious dignitaries sorrowful. Further, degradation and erosion of territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence and ability to withstand foreign intervention, exacerbated by the breakdown of national security have been the cause for profound sadness and despair. It is so unfortunate that this uncertain climate and environment still prevails.
“No one has been found guilty or accountable on the Central Bank bond scam where enormous amounts of money have been siphoned off. Those who killed hundreds of people by suicide bombings freely mingle in society. Furthermore, selling, leasing and disposing of portions of our country to foreign interests continue unabated, posing a huge threat to our independence. Some candidates in the presidential election fray are willing to implement proposals of certain politicians that would ultimately lead to the division of our country and a federal structure. As it is our prime and noble intention to ensure all communities and followers of all religious faiths live harmoniously and in peace, respecting the main cultural ethos and Buddhism, we would call upon all candidates to openly declare and promise they would protect the unitary status of our country, oppose federalism and ensure national security. Those who would not so declare should be firmly rejected.
“All religious leaders including Buddhist clergy to date have worked and contributed enormously to protect our motherland, religion and culture. Similarly, all ethnic groups diligently and cordially have done their part. All communities and followers of all religious faiths in the future too must work together with the thought "All are Sri Lankans.” Therefore, we appeal to you, including the Buddhist clergy and other religious leaders, to come together to defeat all forces that are attempting to divide this land or destroy national unity.”