Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Saturday he would come up with a new proposal shortly to include provisions in the Constitution that would prohibit Governments from interfering with internal matters of three main Buddhist Chapters.
The Prime Minister said this at the opening of the Weli Maluwa at Ruwan Weliseya in Anuradhapura over the weekend.
“I will come up with proposal to include a clause in the Constitution that the Government cannot get involved in deciding on the matters relating to the three Nikayas, followed by Sri Lankan Buddhists."
He added that Therawada Buddhism had suffered during the reign of King Mahasen, where the Maha Vihara in Anuradhapura was destroyed by the Vaithullayas, while killing some monks. The Vaithulayas were controlling Abhayagiriya and Jethawanarama temples at that time. It was these monks of Maha Vihara, who spread the Therawada Buddhism to several countries such as Laos and Thailand.
The Premier pointed out that after the division another generation of monks had to be brought down from Thailand and set up the Asgiriya and Malwatte Chapters. Later those who ruled this country decided to safeguard all the Chapters and made the Government bound by the Constitution to safeguard Buddhism.
“However, this tradition was broken by the rulers of this country around five years ago. The Mahanayake was threatened by them as he allowed one of their opponents to hold a Pooja at Dalada Maligawa. They threatened to divide the Malwatte Chapter and set up another Chapter.
“They went on to the extent of constructing a Stupa taller than Ruwan Weliseya in Anuradhapura, which is not possible as per the traditions, norms and beliefs. These rulers are bound by the tradition to tender an apology to the Mahanayake of Malwatte Chapter and to sweep the premises of Ruwan Weliseya and other sacred places of worship in repentance,” he added.
He said he would bring in a clause to the new Constitution under which government intervention in deciding on the composition of the three chapters would be prohibited. (Yohan Perera)