Sri Lanka Buddhist monks’ party slams Marxists

[TamilNet, Monday, 26 April 2004, 16:22 GMT]
Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), the party of ultra Sinhala nationalist Buddhist monks, Monday charged that the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s chief coalition partner, is planning to eliminate its leaders. Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thero, General Secretary of the JHU, told a press conference at the party’s headquarters in a plush Colombo suburb that leading monks of his party had received death threats again on Sunday night. Meanwhile thousands of posters lambasting the JHU monks appeared in Colombo during the weekend.

One poster accused the JHU monks of being an insidious cog in a ‘Tiger – Elephant’ conspiracy to destroy the Sinhala nation. (Elephant is the symbol of ex-Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party)

Other posters poked fun at the JHU and called it ‘Hela Karumaya’ (‘Curse of the Hela’)

Supporters of the JHU were attacked by thugs in Kesbawa on Sunday night. Two of them were admitted to hospital with injuries. The vehicle in which the JHU supporters were travelling was damaged by the mob.

JHU Gen. Secretary alleged that his party supporters identified persons in the Kesbawa gang as members of the JVP.

He charged that the JVP is carrying out a three-stage plan to eliminate the JHU. “The first stage is character assassination. The second is physical intimidation and in the third they would eliminate us. They have succeeded in implementing the first and second stages. Now they are getting ready to eliminate us”, the JHU Gen. Secretary alleged.

President Kumaratunga’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the JVP have condemned the JHU as an insidious spanner conspiratorially thrown in the works of their alliance by the UNP to frustrate their efforts to form and run a stable government.

Nevertheless the JHU insisted that it would take a neutral stand in Parliament. The monks said they would remain neutral even when two of them deserted the party overnight by disappearing two days before the Parliament met and reappearing to support the SLFP-JVP alliance in the hotly contested election of the speaker.

But things turned irreparably sour when SLFP-JVP MPs abused the monks in very vitriolic and foul language after they decided to neutralise the renegade monks’ vote by casting two votes for the opposition’s candidate for speaker on 22 April.

Two temples pro-JHU monks were attacked during the weekend. Suspected supporters of the SLFP-JVP alliance flew black flags in front of a pro-JHU monk’s temple.

Political observers in Colombo say that the spiralling acrimony between the monks and the SLFP-JVP alliance could further ruin President Kumaratunga’s efforts to form a stable government in the coming weeks.

 

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