Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalism ultimate trump card in unitary ‘Sri Lanka’: Suresh

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 June 2019, 19:18 GMT]
The successive SL governments continue to behave hostile towards the Tamil people through ‘celebrating’ victory in the month of May. Furthermore, the SL State and its military sustain the Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalism unabatedly erecting Buddhist temples in the North and the East. The same trend is also witnessed in the way the Islamophobia is deployed in the electoral politics of the South, particularly after the Easter Sunday attacks, commented Tamil politician Suresh Premachandran in a video interview to TamilNet this week. The SL Army’s 11-day ‘Walk of Warriors’ launched from Medawachchiya to Colombo coinciding with the May’ victory celebration’ seems to be a display of warning to the Muslim people as well as being propaganda targeting the Sinhala people with the message that the military force is their ultimate protection, the former Tamil militant turned politician observed.

The Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalism was again consolidating itself as the ultimate trendsetter while the island was facing three elections, the parliamentary, provincial and the presidential elections, Mr Premachandran said.

The SL Governor to North Suren Raghavan claimed that he wanted to be a bridge-builder between the Sinhala Buddhist monks and the Tamils in the North. Raghavan may be an academic on the subject of Buddhism [but he also knew that he couldn’t change the reality], Suresh Premachandran was hinting in the interview.

Recently, Raghavan argued for and went on organising a Buddhist conference in Vavuniyaa claiming that it would create an opportunity to explain the situation in the North-East to the Buddhist monks. What happened at the meeting was something different. Raghavan also knew it very well, Mr Premachandran told.

“The reality is that the Buddhist fundamentalists or the Sinhala Buddhist hegemony are very well organised. After 2009, almost 230 Buddhist temples, both small and big in size, have been put up in the Northern province alone in places where there are no Buddhists. Even recently, they brought a big Buddha statue to Mullaiththeevu where a Hindu Pi’l’laiyaar temple is situated. They are systematically putting up new Buddhist temples,” the leader of the EPRLF said.

If the SL military wants to have Buddhist temples for its soldiers, it could do so within its bases. However, that is not the real issue here.

In reality, the Buddhist fundamentalism is accelerating. The government and its armed forces very much support the trend. The Buddhist monks are allowed to work against the Tamils and the Muslims without any control. It was this trend which paved the way for Islamic fundamentalism, Premachandran said.

Sinhala Buddhist extremist monk Gnanasara Thero was freed after being in jail only for six months of his six-year vigorous jail term.

After his release, Gnanasara was threatening to launch a big march towards Colombo demanding Colombo to act against certain Muslim politicians.

In the meantime, Athuraliye Rathana Thero was able to stage a fast-unto-death campaign and achieve what he wanted with the veiled threat of causing havoc in the South through mobilising the Sinhala masses.

Rajapaksa’s opposition, backed by Wimal Weerawansa, is counting on the same approach.

The reality has always been the same on the island. When the opposition counts on exploiting Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalism, as witnessed with the current trend of Islamophobia, the sitting government will not risk its voter base either. The result would be nothing different than what the Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalism wants to achieve, Premachandran explained.

Whether the Muslim leaders have realised at least now that they should be joining hands with the Tamils instead of opting for opportunistic positions in the SL government was still a question, he said.

It is high time that they realise the significance of working together with Tamils and safeguarding the rights rather than falling prey to the opportunism which would be temporary and counter-productive to the interests of their community in the long run, Mr Premachandran observed.

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