Staff boycott work after monk goes berserk inside Secretariat

[TamilNet, Saturday, 14 October 2006, 22:11 GMT]
The staff of the Manmunai North Divisional Secretariat in Batticaloa boycotted duties for an hour from 10:00 a.m. Friday condemning the cantankerous behavior of the Buddhist Monk, Ampitiya Sumanarathna Thera, inside the Secretariat at 9:30 a.m., shouting and swearing at the working staff. Officials said the belligerent Thera falsely accused the staff of reneging on providing funds allocated to renovate the Sri Mangalaramaya Vihara where he is the chief priest, Secretariat sources said.

Thera maintained that the Secretariat has failed to complete the renovation of the Vihare for which funds were allocated three years ago under the "Mahinda Chintanaya," and that he went to the Secretariat to demand the funds.

However, Additional Planning Director at the Secretariat, Mr S Sivalingam, said that the responsibility for the renovation work was with the Kokkuvil Rural Development Society, and that his Secretariat has remitted the last reimbursement of funds to the Batticaloa Kachcheri on the 2nd October. "Hon. Thera entered inside the Secretariat and demanded that he be given the funds for the project," Mr Sivalingam said.

"We informed the Batticaloa Police who escorted him outside the Secretariat. But when we went to the Police station to lodge a complaint, the Police refused to accept the complaint. However, at around 5:00 p.m the Police informed us that they were prepared accept the complaint, and we did," Mr Sivalingam added.

Rs. 1m was allocated for renovation under "Mahinda Chintanaya," and the work on the Vihare is nearing completion, according to local residents.

Batticaloa Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians, P. Ariyaneththiran, T. Kanagasabai and Miss. S. Thangeswary condemned the behavior of the Monk and urged that disciplinary action is taken against the Thera in a letter sent to the Secretary of Sri Lanka's President, Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration, the Superintendent of Police Batticaloa and the Brigade Commander, Batticaloa, parliamentarians said.


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