Colombo, May 27: Buddhist extremist outfits in Sri Lanka such as the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and the Sinhala Ravaya, have begun to portray Sri Lankan Muslims leaders as “Islamic extremists” and the Rohingyas of Myanmar as “ISIS agents”.
While denying the BBS’s involvement in the recent spate of attacks on mosques and business establishment of Muslims, the outfit’s Chief Executive, Dilantha Withanage, told the media that the Muslims were trying to grab land belonging to the Wilpattu forest in the North West in order to establish a Muslim colony where Shariah law will prevail and which could become a breeding ground for ISIS terrorists who will create mayhem in Lanka and also India.
Withanage further said that in the Eastern Province, Muslims are refusing to vacate lands belonging to Buddhist temples which have archeological value.
Referring to the 32 Rohingyas who were arrested in Sri Lankan waters on May 1, Withanage said that they were ISIS agents who had previously gone to India but feeling the heat there, tried to flee to Sri Lanka. He doubted if they were really from Myanmar as they could not speak Myanmrese language but spoke in Bengali. They were Bangladeshi Muslims, he said.
Among the 32 Bengali speaking Rohingyas who were held, there were 16 children and a 15 month old baby.
The BBS leader, Buddhist monk Ven.Gnanasara Thero, who is behind the recent spate of attacks against Muslims, is currently evading arrest in a contempt of court case. The monk had misbehaved in the Homagama Magistrate’s court on January 25, and that latter filed a contempt of court case in the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal has ordered Ven. Gnanasara Thero to be appear before it on May 31.
Asked why the monk is not surrendering, Withanage said that the BBS has information that there are plans to assassinate Gnanasara Thero in the jail with the help of hardened criminals.
Meanwhile, Ven.Magalkande Sudatta Thero, leader of the Sinhala Ravaya, told the media that before arresting Ven.Gnanasara Thero, police should arrest Muslim Ministers who are “terrorists”.
After President Maithripala Sirisena ordered stern action against those to instigate mobs to attack Muslims properties and places of worship, and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the area police will be called to account if there is any more such incident of arson or violence, the police set up a Special Unit to curb such activities and deployed five teams to arrest Ven.Gnanasara Thero.
(The featured picture above shows two radical anti-Muslim Buddhist monks, Ven.Ashin Wirathu of Myanmar and Ven.Gnanasara Thero of Sri Lanka during the former’s visit to Sri Lanka)