We took part in politics actively in the year 2000 through the Sihala Urumaya and the National Sangha Council .
Q However, you have become active through the Jathika Hela Urumaya?
That is through the Sihala Urumaya. Before that we worked for the National Sangha Council in 2004. The Jathika Hela Urumaya was born from National Sangha Council. At the beginning, we did sufficient work.
Q Have you left the Jathika Hela Urumaya or were you removed?
There were problems. Differences of opinions emerged. We pointed out that the involvement of Buddhist monks in politics would pose a danger in the future. Then there was a discussion and later we, as Buddhist monks were duty-bound to train a group of lay persons suitable for politics. But problems cropped up when the monks came forward through provincial councils.
"It is true that we use harsh words. We do so because the people cannot understand what we say. However, nowhere have we exhibited such alleged intolerant behaviour. Except for the Siri Kotha incident, there is none"
Q Then, why was the Bodu Bala Sena established? Was it as an alternative to the Hela Urumaya?
The Bodu Bala Sena was established due to differences of opinion with Ven. Ratana Thera. I helped him to establish the Hela Urumaya. Arrangements were taken to send nine monks to Parliament but not to destroy the Sangha Council. There is a moral right to stand before power politics as a party. Mahinda Mahathmaya is strategically with them. We can’t do what we intend within power politics. That is why we say not to destroy the Sangha Council.
Q But they did not listen to it?
That is the reason we left it. We were able to discuss various things in the past. Mahinda Rajapaksa is a person with a mixture of all these forces. He can’t become the ruler without the Sinhala Buddhist forces. It was these national forces which helped to create an environment for Rajapaksa to grow by attacking the anti-Buddhist base of Chandrika. Therefore, we believed that a president mixed with such forces will rule the country and we won.
Q Can we say that the Bodu Bala Sena has established an environment where the Buddhist monks have become intolerant and violent?
That cannot be accepted. It is true that we use harsh words. We do so because the people cannot understand what we say. However, nowhere have we exhibited such alleged intolerant behaviour.
Q How about the most recent Sirikotha incident?
Yes, except for the Sirikotha incident, there is none. The Bodu Bala Sena has not created any conflict anywhere. No protests were staged. We have selected formal places such as the Department of Archaeology and the Ministry of Buddha Sasana for that purpose. There are many things that we have achieved. In the meantime, we have observed that various sub-cultures have been emerging, pasting posters as well.
Q But the leaders have to be held responsible haven’t they?
We have organised our activities decently. There are occasions on which some members of the Bodu Bala Sena have acted indecently, having dressed in T-shirts etc., We have expelled them from our membership as well.
Q There is a legal system in the country. There are institutions which implement the law. There is an allegation that you have taken the law into your hands?
That is totally wrong. We love our country. We have never said that this is a Sinhala Buddhist country. But, as citizens we should love the fauna and flora of this country. That is why we said that every citizen should act as an unofficial policeman. There is a big story within it.
Q Then some people have begun to use the law of the jungle?
No. It is not like that. There is a common system of law in the country. We act according to that common legal system.
Q Today, there are no war crimes allegations in Geneva. But, the allegation is that the mosques are being destroyed. Are you a contributor to that allegation?
It is important that a newspaper like yours discusses this issue. You can find out the truth. From 2007 to 2010, especially the Muslim society is entailed with the tragedy called Wahabism – Muslim extremism. It is the person called Alavi Moulana who has spoken to the Asian Tribune and India Today magazines about it. In addition, Mr. Azad Salley’s brother has also spoken like that. It was in 2012, that the question of Muslim extremism arose. There are about 400 Christian fundamentalist organisations. There are reports about it. Some Muslim brothers also spoke to me about conversions. They are in fear in some parts of the country.
Q What did they tell you?
Aney, Hamuduruwane, we can’t talk about this in public. We are in fear. Various extremist groups have intruded into this country. One Muslim brother said that his son has been taken to Pakistan on a scholarship. He was being given military training there. Our intention is not to marginalise the Muslim community and create conflicts with them. We are focusing on getting the attention of the authorities to look into these things in order to avoid any dangerous situation in the future. We have not attacked any religious place. We are not involved in the Dambulla incident. They are not religious places - they are places created in the name of religion. Mr. Hakeem has sent a ‘pet’ letter to Geneva. According to Hakeem, when a Sinhala person brushes against a Muslim, it is a conflict. I have experienced about 30 years of terror in this country. We have gone through various trials and tribulations in the past. However, we have got rid of that terror. We want to live peacefully by defeating extremism.
Q But the crux of the matter is, why exhibit muscle power for this purpose instead of intelligent discourse?
We have not done so. Can you show me one incident? We questioned the Halal matter. But it is the responsibility of the government to solve it. We have a long way to go. Since 2012, what we did was concentrating on the national forces and holding Buddhist summits. This is what is called intelligent discourse.
Q Your organisation gets a lot of money from various sources. It is said that Bodu Bala Sena is a ‘Pilli” of Norway?
It is a good question. I can’t remember the time frame. However, we went to Norway after several months of the formation of our organisation.
Q Was it a casual trip?
No. It was a planned trip. We go to a country only on their invitation. The victims of the war suffered immensely. Nobody helped them. We went there for a discussion. There are many people who are non-LTTE. There are Sinhala, Muslim, Tamil people there. We wanted to unite them.
Q Who invited you to Norway?
It was not an invitation by Norway. We created awareness about the Ministry of Defence. We wanted to meet intelligent people who were not of the LTTE. We had a successful conference there but there were some people who held LTTE views too.
Q What were the benefits of the conference?
We discussed the welfare of the Tamil people. We made requests to construct a road.
Q Minister Hakeem was keen on finding out who were behind the Bodu Bala Sena?
When Poya is in the offing, there are various ‘howlings’. We are not shocked by these things. We are well aware of his extremism. It is Hakeem who said that the army shot 117 people in Muttur in spite of the fact they were killed by the LTTE. They are crossing over to political parties like prostitutes from time to time. We can give proper answers to the questions taken to Geneva by him now. Their whole life is full of lies. Their ministerial portfolios are also false.
Q You have said a force of 1 million is going to be formed. For whom is that?
More than a million. Our programme is “Awake, through the vision of Dampal!” So far we have recruited them.
Q My question is, for whom is that?
It is we who decided the King in 2016. It is a silent journey. Merely praying to the “Triple Gem” will not do. We should safeguard the Buddhists geographically and regionally. If Mahinda Rajapaksa is sincerely committed to this cause we willhelp him. But still these are ‘plaster’ solutions only.
Q During the next presidential election, it is said that you are going to deprive Mahinda Rajapaksa of the Sinhala Buddhist votes and Muslim and Christian votes?
This is the sutra of Wimal Weerawansa. In the same way, traditional Muslim people can also be fooled. What we stress is not to bring in separatism again. Do not give way to extremism.
Q How would you prove that the Bodu Bala Sena is not an extremist organisation?
There is no extremism in the story of Buddhism. There is no such thing even in the past. Unlike other priests we discuss every problem in public.
Q There is a saying that any nation that oppresses another nation makes their own chains. What is your opinion?
Yes. It is an accepted fact. The majority has to act without opposing the others.
"We have never said that this is a Sinhala Buddhist country. But, as citizens we should love the fauna and flora of this country. That is why we said that every citizen should act as an unofficial policeman"
Q But acording to Buddhism, it is said that “Saththa….”
Sabbe Saththa Bhawanthu Suki Saththa. I practice loving kindness daily. But, we say that we should not give way to extremism.
Q There are ministers who import drugs, it is said. Who are they?
We have reported the relevant authorities.
Q Did you complain to the police?
Of course. But every one cannot be taken into custody. That is why we say that laws should be enacted.
Q Does the government seem to be listening to it?
Can’t say so. We held a big conference in 2012. Four proposals have been approved so far.
Q So there is no harm in supporting the President?
There is no such foundation to support him. By 2016, we have made arrangements to increase the Buddhist force.
Q Finally you will step into Parliament?
No. We have decided not to go to Parliament. We will create suitable persons to be sent to it.
It doesn't have to be physical, your mouth and gestures have done the needful time and time again!!!
KD Wednesday, 02 April 2014 04:11 AM
Sri Lankans are not as stupid as you may think. They can see and hear well. Most of all we are intelligent enough to know when someone is trying to BS. Be gone and stay gone boy! we like some peace and quiet and deserve it NOW!
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