Mixed responses from Buddhist prelates on Fonseka arrest

[TamilNet, Saturday, 13 February 2010, 05:12 GMT]
Buddhist Chief Prelates (Mahanayakas) of Asgiriya and Malwatte Chapters have come out with mixed responses on Fonseka's arrest. While the Mahanayaka of Malwatte Chapter has said that he was awaiting response from the Sri Lankan president, saying that Mr. Rajapaksa "could have been in dark" while the arrest took place, the Mahanayaka of Asgiriya Chapter has deplored the sudden arrest of Sarath Fonseka. In the meantime, Sri Lankan opposition sources said they were awaiting a joint written statement from the main prelates. The Buddhist prelates exercise a dominant influence on the Sri Lankan regime. The prelates of four chapters will be meeting on 18 February to discuss Fonseka's arrest.

The chief prelate of the Malwatte chapter has told the opposition UNF that he was awaiting response from Mr. Rajapaksa, explaining that Mr. Rajapaksa "could have been in the dark," when the arrest took place, implying that the arrest could have been carried out by the orders of the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, while his brother was away from the country.

"We have been waiting for the President’s response. Sangha would decide on the future action on receipt of President Rajapaksa’s response as the latter could have been in the dark when the arrest took place," the prelate of the Malwatte Chapter Venerable Tibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thero has told the opposition when a UNF delegation led by UNP deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya met the Mahanayake Thera on Thursday. The UNF delegation also comprised JVP leader Somawansa Amarasingha, SLFP (M) leader Mangala Samaraweera and SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem.

On the previous day, UNP's president Gamini Jayawickrama met the Asgiriya Mahanayaka Thera, Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thero. The chief prelate of the Asgiriya chapter told the UNP politician that he did not approve the arrest of the former commander who did "yeoman service to the nation". The Mahanayake deplored the way the arrest took place.

The Maha Sangha will be meeting on 18 February in the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy to discuss the issue, informed sources said on Saturday.


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