Recent activities of Bodu Bala Sena are rehearsals for Regime Change?
Posted on June 19th, 2014

The UNP and the Buddhist monkhood – The Island Review


At the time of writing, a Muslim owned business establishment has been set on fire in Aluthgama ostensibly because the brother of the owner had raped a boy inside the shop and the boy has been hospitalised. In this country, members of the public do take the law into their own hands in instances like murder and rape and in that sense this incident is no different to those that have taken place all over the country except for the fact that two different ethnic groups are involved in this case. Even if the owner was a Sinhalese, that would not have stopped his shop from being torched in an instance like this. But given the background in which this incident has taken place, this too gets interpreted as an instance of Buddhists harassing Muslims.  There is a clash of narratives here – the Sinhalese will claim that a Sinhalese boy was raped and has been hospitalised while the Muslims will claim that their shop was burnt because they were Muslims and that the same thing would not have happened to a Sinhala rapist.

As happens in such cases, opportunistic politicians among the minorities are making hay while the sun shines. What has enabled some Muslim leaders to give an ethnic or religious slant to everything that happens to them is the activities of a handful of monks in the Bodu Bala Sena and other such organisations with unexplained links to Norway. Since a trip to Norway three years ago, these monks have been actively fomenting unrest between the Muslim and Sinhala Buddhist communities.  This is bad for Sri Lanka both externally and internally. Externally we become known as a country that routinely harasses ethnic and religious minorities and internally, sowing this kind of discord enables all Muslims, even the worst scoundrels,  to present themselves to the world as victims, not perpetrators. Quite clearly, this trend has to be brought to a grinding halt by good means or bad.

Historically, it is always the SLFP that has had problems with the Buddhist monkhood and since we have an SLFP government in power, these problems are perhaps to be expected.  Even the founder of the SLFP was murdered by a Buddhist monk as the result of a conspiracy. Today there may not be a monkish conspiracy to assassinate the president – at least none that has as yet come to light, but they are killing this government slowly nevertheless.  Bandaranaike was assassinated physically by a monk with gunshots. But monkish conspirators today are killing the government with small incremental doses of political arsenic by fomenting ethnic and religious unrest.  The UNP in contrast to the SLFP has historically had almost no problems with Buddhist monks and in the rare instances that there have been problems, the UNP has always come out on top. In the 1950s Sir John Kotelawala is supposed to have openly stated that he would apply tar on the backsides of undisciplined Buddhist monks and this comment has just about defined the UNP’s attitude towards the Buddhist monkhood.

This is of course not to say that the UNP leaders were any less Buddhist than the SLFP leaders. But it is true that Buddhist monks have historically been much more inclined to take liberties with SLFP leaders than with UNP leaders. UNP leaders always maintained a certain distance from the monks making it very clear that the UNP does not owe the power that it wield to monks.  Even later leaders of the UNP like J.R.Jayewardene who had a scholarly interest in Buddhism, were no different. When the chief incumbent of the Getambe temple in Kandy criticized him, JRJ fenced off the temple on the claim that the surrounding land belonged to the state. If any monk had dared to openly give a licence to other monks to overthrow his government outside the electoral process, JRJ would have actually carried through the threat made by Sri John and applied tar on the backside of that monk regardless of how high he ranked. Take the present casino controversy for example. Any outsider reading the statements being issued by certain monks and even the Mahanayake theros would be led to believe that casinos were being introduced to Sri Lanka for the first time. But in actual fact casinos have been inexistence for nearly four decades – ever since the UNP came into power in 1977. Before that these were clubs in which gambling was allowed but this was largely restricted to card games and the like. Casinos proper started making their appearance only after 1977. But at that time, no monk dared demand that these be closed because the UNP would not have listened anyway.

The clergy kept on a leash

The letters that the Mahanayakes are now writing to the present government are nearly four decades too late. When the UNP was in power, even the Mahanayakes would only give advice and make suggestions with no demands being made and certainly no letters being issued. Last week we showed how Ranil Wickremesinghe though out of power, still studiously ignores letters signed by all four Mahanayake theros. And neither do we see Ranil Wickremesinghe running to see the Mahanayakes ever so often to discuss problems in the country. The UNP has always had this healthy policy of leaving politics to the politicians and religion to the Mahanayakes. Yet this does not mean that Wickremesinghe is any less Buddhist. Like JRJ, Ranil too is well read in Buddhism. But keeping a distance from the monkhood is the UNP ethos.

Now if we look at the monkish agitation and violence that has gripped this country in the past couple of years, it was first directed at the minorities but is now also directed at the government with the Bodu Bala Sena claiming that they could topple as well as create governments and the Malwatte Mahanayake actually giving the BBS sanction to go ahead with their plans for regime change. We all know that given the political line up in this country, if this government falls it will be the UNP that assumes power. There isn’t a snowflakes chance in hell of the mad monks of the Bodu Bala Sena, Ravana Balakaya, Sihala Ravaya and even the entire JHU all put together being able to form a government. The direct beneficiary of the instability created by the mad monks is the UNP. There is not the slightest possibility of the UNP stepping aside politely and giving the Bodu Bala Sena and others the benefit of their work.

The UNP has been out power now for nearly two continuous decades and they will openly apply tar on the backsides of anybody who dares try to deprive them of their place in the sun when their turn comes round. So then why would any Buddhist monk want to topple the present government and hand over power to the UNP – a political party that has always shown scant respect for monks? If the UNP comes into power, all these monkish organizations will be turned into ciphers overnight.  The UNP recently demonstrated the respect they had for the yellow robe by roughing up the Bodu Bala Sena monks who invaded Sirikotha and despite cries raised by some quarters that members of the ‘Maha Singa’ were assaulted, the UNP’s votes actually increased for the first time. Had they done a Sir John and applied tar on the backsides of those BBS monks, their votes would have increased even more. But perhaps on the day that the Bodu Bala Sena monks invaded Sirikotha, the UNP did not have any tar at hand. They should now always have a bucket of tar at headquarters to apply on the backsides of any monks who come there to create trouble.

Then why are these monks trying to dislodge a government like this which is compliant to the monkhood and respectful of the saffron robe and facilitate a UNP comeback? There is no logic to what the monks are doing. This is why this writer insists once again that this mad monk phenomenon is a part of a Western conspiracy to bring about regime change and also to destroy Buddhism from within. The Bodu Bala Sena, Ravana Balakaya and the Sihala Ravaya is made up of monks who have been complete non-entities all their lives except in the last couple of years when they suddenly shot to fame with acts of thuggery. Their behaviour indicates that their actions are not meant for the long haul. They know as well as anybody else that their actions are causing consternation among the Buddhist laity and that they will not be able to go from being monkish thugs to transmogrifying into ordinary monks once again. They are fulfilling a short-term contract for their foreign masters and when their task is done, they will disrobe and go overseas to reap the reward for what they had achieved in Sri Lanka. Just as they suddenly appeared from nowhere, they will disappear into obscurity once their task is over.  Just observe the manner in which these rogue monks vie with one another to create trouble out of nothing.

A flogging opportunity

Over the past few days, we saw the Bodu Bala Sena welcoming the setting up of a new police unit to receive complaints about religious matters. They even went on record saying that this was something that they themselves had recommended some time ago and that they were happy that it had been implemented even belatedly. But a couple of days after Gnanasara himself made that statement, another group of mad monks of the Ravana Balakaya went to the Bauddha Sasana ministry and gave an ultimatum to disband the special police unit by Vesak or face an occupation of the ministry by their organization. Yet it was only days ago, that both these groups of monkish horrors visited the Malwatte Mahanayake and got a carte blanche from him to work towards regime change. One would think that when both groups visited the Malwatte Mahanayake together, that one wouldn’t contradict the other especially when one group publicly states that the police unit was their idea and welcomes setting it up.

This is lunacy at its worst. One would think that it is high time that some magistrate orders these monks to be subjected to psychiatric evaluations the way Nishantha Muthuhettigama was. But perhaps there is a method to this apparent madness. This proves one point that this writer has been making all along – that what is important to these madmen is not the issue, but the opportunity to put on public shows that would contribute to the destruction of the faith of Buddhists – the sight of purported Buddha putras wearing the revered robe that the Buddha himself wore, and engaging in unseemly acts of thuggery of the kind that even lay thugs would be too ashamed to engage in public. The other point is of course that this threat to invade and occupy the Buddha Sasana ministry could be a rehearsal for the regime change action that this group of monks received clearance for from the Malwatte Mahanayake. They occupy one ministry first and then go on to other ministries.

So this could be the first of a series of takeovers of ministries. It will start as a campaign to get rid of the special police unit and will spread to other ministries as well on the excuse that the ministries were not doing their work properly.  So we seem set to see an escalation of monkish misbehaviour after Vesak. But the good news is that this threatened takeover of the Buddha Sasana ministry will also be a not-to-be-missed opportunity to re-establish law and order. If Ravana Balaya takes over the Buddha Sasana Ministry, they should be allowed to occupy the premises. In the night, the police should be withdrawn from a two kilometre radius around the ministry, the electricity supply knocked off and in the darkness the monks in occupation should be set upon by unknown persons wielding bulls pizzles and thrashed so soundly that at the crack of dawn they will all decamp from the Buddha Sasana ministry as one and take over the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine demanding herbal poultices for their weals.

On the one hand, this mad monk phenomenon is a problem.  But then on deeper introspection it is not a problem either, because the solution is so mind bogglingly simple. Just one vigorous public thrashing is all that it will take to put an end to all this nonsense. Many people think restoring inter-religious harmony in this country is a difficult thing. But in actual fact, all that is needed to restore inter-religious harmony in this country is a few well seasoned bull’s pizzles. First you thrash the mad monks. Then you thrash with the same bull’s pizzles that Muslim preacher who has been stirring up unnecessary trouble with his Islamic sermons critical of Buddhism in Sinhala. Finally you keep these bull’s pizzles to use on any Christian preachers who create problems in the rural areas and voila! there will be inter-religious harmony in this country.

In 2004, just after the parliamentary election of that year, there was a contest for the election of a speaker in parliament. The opposition won the contest and W.J.M.Lokubandara became the speaker. In the course of the riot that took place in parliament the monks who were elected on the JHU ticket were also assaulted and the whole country knows that in the melee one of the JHU monks had his ding dongs squeezed so hard by a UPFA politician that he had to be hospitalized. And that mind you, was the first election fought by the UPFA (before that this political outfit was known as the PA – People’s Alliance). So the UPFA started its existence with this fracas in which monks were also assaulted. But the UPFA did not lose a single vote for having roughed up the JHU monks even though those were very respectable monks unlike the hooligans that we see on the streets today. The voting public knows that when anybody enters politics, be it monks or laymen, there are certain things that have to be expected and a monk in parliament cannot be expected to be treated any different to a lay politician. Fights break out in the legislatures of even the most developed nations and the Sri Lankan parliament is not exempt.  This is the very reason why so many devout Buddhists are so opposed to monks taking to politics. The Buddhist laity never blamed the UPFA politicians for having squeezed the ding dongs of that JHU monk – rather the monks were blamed for being in parliament to get their ding dongs squeezed.

So how can anyone argue that dealing with these monkish hooligans that we see on the streets today will pose a problem for the UPFA? As for the UNP, they actually increased their votes in all districts after roughing up the BBS monks who invaded Sirikotha. Something will have to be done fast before these monks do something that is irreversible. Though Sir John Kotelawala said that some monks need to have tar applied on their backsides, he never carried out the threat. Given what happened within a few years of Sir John losing power, he was absolutely right. Had Sir John got hold of monks like Buddharakkitha and Somarama when he had power and applied tar on their backsides, then S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike would have been able to live to his natural lifespan. One has to be very careful when there are monks with political ambitions around.

Taking the Leuke precaution

Some basic precautions would be called for. When meeting monks, the Rajapaksa brothers in particular should be very vigilant. Remember Gandhi who was killed by a Hindu fanatic and Bandaranaike who was killed by a Buddhist monk. In 1988, J.R.Jayewardene was invited to grace the Indian Independence day celebrations in New Delhi. The Indian authorities who thought the Sri Lankan side may be worried about such a visit especially in the context of the attack on Rajiv Gandhi while inspecting a guard of honour in Colombo the previous year, had suggested indirectly that perhaps President Jayewardene would like to receive the guard of honour from the podium instead of inspecting it and presenting himself as a target for any possible reprisal by an Indian Jawan. But the then octogenarian president had insisted on inspecting the guard of honour and told his security personnel that he will do what he has to do and that it was the duty of his security personnel to protect him. So Nimal Leuke negotiated with the Indians to have the red carpet placed one meter away from the first line of the guard of honour to give them time to react if something happens.

The plan was that two of the best pistol shots in the STF, the late Upali Silva and Leuke himself would walk five paces behind JRJ when inspecting the guard of honour and if there was an attack, they would shoot the assailant dead. The key here was to draw and fire a sidearm cowboy fashion before any assailant is able to do any damage. The STF had trained many men to draw and fire their sidearms in an instant and Silva and Leuke were among the best at that time. The Rajapaksa brothers should have trained men like that around them when interacting with the public and especially with monks. These mad monks were able to find an ever madder colleague who set himself on fire in front of the Dalada Maligawa in protest against cattle slaughter. One never knows what else some of the madder individuals among the mad monks may be motivated to do.

While the mad monks are getting madder by the day, there is a glimmer of hope at other levels. The first time that this writer recommended that bull’s pizzles be used against unruly monks was in late 2012 when a group of university student monks staged a protest in front of Temple Trees shouting slogans in the most uncouth and un-bhikku like manner possible. The saffron robe represents the Buddhist community and those who wear the robe the Buddha himself wore should take care not to act in a manner in public that would bring disrepute on the whole Buddhist community. If that demonstration in front of Temple Trees by student monks in 2012 was bad, nothing prepared us for what was to come later – middle aged monkish horrors all going mad in unison and behaving in public in a manner as to send shockwaves through the Buddhist community in this country.

But last week we saw a refreshing change for the better.  When university students surrounded Temple Trees again protesting against the reduction of the Allied Medical Services degree from four to three years, we did not see any monks shouting slogans or behaving in a manner that brings disrepute to Buddhism. Monks marched in the procession, but behind the lay students. And none were shouting slogans. That was done by the lay students. Even the monks who marched right in front did not shout slogans. When the lay students sat down on the road, the monks continued to stand. At this time of immense stress for Buddhists, the IUSF has to be commended for not adding to the mental agony of the Buddhist community.

For a change the demand was also reasonable – turning the nursing degree into a four year degree. If Sri Lankan nurses were given four year degrees as is the norm in the West, there is tremendous opportunity to build up a new expatriate workforce. However, there was no point in surrounding Temple Trees because those standing against the elevation of the nursing degree is not the government but the GMOA. It is to be hoped that the IUSF will continue to see to it that the student bhikkus will not behave in a manner that will bring disrepute on the Buddhist community. The IUSF has a tremendous responsibility in this regard because they control a good part of the younger bhikkus and if the public behaviour of monks is controlled at that end, this phenomenon that threatens to destroy the Sinhala Buddhist identity from within, can be contained.

3 Responses to “Recent activities of Bodu Bala Sena are rehearsals for Regime Change?”

  1. ranjit Says:

    Mad monks must be stopped in their tracks at all cost if we want to save our religion as well as our Motherland. Also those Muslim fanatics who creates mayham in all over the world including our country. We allowed 15% of our society to destroy our homeland for thirty long years and thank God beacuse of our gallant heros we got rid of all the terrorists for good and now there is another threat from Jihadist as per the Interpol and other inteligence agecies. We cannot allow 10 % of Muslim population to terrorize our people and make our country another Iraq.

    In the eyes of the world they pretend to be the good guys and picture the Buddhists as bad guys. You see what headlines you get these days in Al Jazeera and in CNN,BBC and other western backed news.? The enemies of our country is trying every trick in the book to topple this Govt and we must not allow that to happen. Opposition Goons cannot even unite and do things then how on earth they can run a Govt. Do they have any plan or solutions to tackle our problems.They do only mud slinging at Govt and Rajapaksas nothing else.

    Every religion have fanatiics and terrorists.We have to identify them quickly and get rid of them like mosqitoes. “Sinhalaya Modaya Kewun Kanna Yodaya” was said by Potugeese is not for anything else because our people are the stupidest people of all and they never learn their mistakes. Think of the past,the blood bath we went thru. Think how those Prabakaran terrorist killed our brothers and sisters,Infants,Monks and others for a second. Think of those heros without legs and hands. What happend to our Sinhalese. Why this unneccessary protests? No rain they protest, When too much rain they protest. When they cannot go to the toilet they protest, They protest for everything from A to Z. Our people have gone crazy or what? We Sinhalese must get united and must save our country because our country is the only country we have for Sinhalese people. We have to stay elert.Open our eyes and be vigilant to safeguard our beautiful country from Tamil & Muslim Terrorists. If we do not be united we cannot fight these evil elements.

    Let the politicians do the Poli ticking and the Revered Monks teach the great religion of ours Buddhism. All religions and faiths must live together as one family.No room for Tamil terrorists or Muslims Jihadist in our blessed country. We will together get rid of these fanatics before they destroy us. Dont blame Sinhalese and Buddhists because we are the Majority and this is our country not Middle East or India.

  2. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    The article had a point but was too verbose. Try to do some editing so that the readers get the point directly. the article can cut a lot of repetitious sentences to make the point. That point was made in the first paragraph. Sinhalese boy raped by Muslims in a Sinhalese owned but Muslim run shop. that led to the back lash. Reading between the lines that was the tipping point of a rising tension between the now dying Buddhist community and the rising Muslim and Tamil communities.

    If left unchecked Sri Lanka will become a Hindu/Islamic nation no different than neighboring India with Buddhism claiming a pitiful minority status. good Luck.

  3. Caesar Says:

    Dire warning to Sinhela people !

    As you are reading this the MUSLIM attacks on Hela specifically Buddhists are on incline where as per our careful and lengthy investigations it has been found that the MUSLIMS are in the secret operation and preparation to launch an all out armed attack on Buddhists who are without arms and without any help from the rulers or security forces. Incidentally this is in coincidence with 1915 MUSLIM riot against Hela Buddhists under the British rule and MUSLIMS managed to manipulate the British anger against Hela and get marshal law declared to massacre the Hela Buddhist people to whim and fancy of MUSLIMS.

    We cannot afford to face similar situation and we Hela too must prepare counter attack and it has to be all out with maximum possible force, since there is no protection could be expected from the president Rajapaksha and his govt. that now bows to MUSLIMS to our total dismay.

    A disastrous situation is very close by and therefore we very clearly inform Hela people to be away from MUSLIM Shops entirely and definitely, otherwise in which case the Hela people inside MUSLIM establishments may become Hostages as well as Victims of attacks.

    • From now on please do not even stay closer to a MUSLIM Shop!

    • Do not go in to purchase anything inside a MUSLIM Shop!

    “ MAKARAAKSHA “ only protection for Hela

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