Sarath Fonseka’s vitriolic attack on Bhikkhus prompts Ven. Gunawansa’s foray into politics
Posted on September 17th, 2017

BY PANCHAMEE HEWAVISSENTI Courtesy Ceylon Today

Former Army Chief Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka’s rhetoric on alleged war crimes committed by Sri Lanka’s armed forces became the subject of criticism by many people. Among them was Ven. Elle Gunawansa. Sarath Fonseka called him a man in robes and a lunatic. Ven. Elle Gunawansa said he prefers not to make hostile comment on Fonseka as the Thera does not want anyone to classify him to be of the same inferior class as displayed by mundane ignorant people. Albeit, the Thera said the United National Party (UNP) should decide if the party should keep Fonseka any longer when he as the former Army Commander has let down his own men and is now ready to give evidence against them in an international court.

Ven. Elle Gunawansa told Ceylon Today that he will certainly make a foray into politics. “Many are of the view that I will contest in the Presidential Election. I have no idea to contest, but I’d support a candidate who pledges to preserve the Buddha Sasana and the glorious identity of the Sinhalese of this country. Moreover, I will assure the victory of that candidate. I have a large vote base,” he said.

When asked if he has any plans to bring in former Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Presidential candidate, the Thera smiled and said, “Let’s wait and see.”

Excerpts:

?Former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka recently referred to you as a “lunatic person in robes”. Do you have any comments?

A: I refrain from commenting on him because I do not like to fall into his low position. He is carrying out a contract assigned to him, whereas I offer my services to the country. He is being bitterly criticized by the citizens of this country for his recent behaviour. I do not have to respond to his comments because many groups such as artistes, politicians, and religious leaders are responding to them at present.

I am glad that one good thing transpired after Fonseka spoke derisively of me. Well-wishers from all corners of the country are visiting my temple and express their solidarity with me. I can realize how much they respect me. Sri Lankans who live abroad phone me expressing their disapproval of the former Army Commander’s behaviour. We wonder why the UNP offered Fonseka a ministerial portfolio and made him an electoral organizer when there are plenty of qualified and decent members in the party. Fonseka never toiled for the UNP’s victory, and he was a leader of another party. He cannot win an electoral victory. UNP supporters are highly disappointed with the behaviour of Fonseka and allege that he is damaging the name of a prestigious political party.

Fonseka is discharging his duties like a member of the opposition. Members of the public in general and UNP supporters in particular have begun to distance themselves from the party for retaining members like him. He has made the party extremely unpopular.

It is high time that the UNP decided whether to keep him in the party if it wants to retain the vote base.

?How ethical it is for an Army Commander to let down his own men who followed his commands in the battle field and say the armed forces committed war crimes?

A: I reiterate that Fonseka is carrying out a contract of Western countries. I am deeply disappointed by his behaviour because he has pledged to preserve the sovereignty of the country.

I began to feel suspicious of Fonseka long ago. I sensed his disloyalty to the country at the end of the war against terrorism. I think my suspicion is justifiable and the public can judge for themselves.

?On what basis did you suspect Fonseka will be a traitor some day?

A: He is completely different from other Army Commanders of the country. I began to feel suspicious of him based on the way he behaved and what he spoke after the war. I knew that this would happen one day.

People are protesting against Fonseka at present and they have also gone to the extent of calling him a traitor.

?As you said, Fonseka is a complete deviation from other Army Chiefs of the country. Have you any idea why he behaves in this manner?

A: He has a pact with foreign forces that want the country divided. He is audacious enough to let down his own men in the armed forces for his selfish ends. The former Army Commander’s manners are dubious. It is clear that he dances to the tune of foreign forces that want to prosecute Sri Lanka’s war heroes.

?You mentioned of foreign forces that attempt to destroy the sovereignty of the country. Can you elaborate?

A: Foreign forces have been attempting to weaken and destroy the integrity of the country for centuries. They still continue to do so.

In fact, there were many foreign invasions in the past. The country was invaded politically, economically, and culturally.

You will be astonished to hear that the so-called foreign forces have become so powerful even to decide the leadership of the country. They make sure that leaders who would dance to their tune are elected. These are not the leaders people want.

Foreign forces pump colossal amounts of money to Sri Lanka to achieve their purposes. Politicians are bribed so that they do not turn against the foreign forces. The government complies with their requests. Fonseka is no exception and it is no wonder if he betrays the war heroes.

International intelligence services are very active in Sri Lanka. Nowadays the activities of foreign forces are manifold because they are hard at work to bring in constitutional changes. The people never asked for constitutional changes, but foreign forces are working hard to achieve them.

?Do you think that foreign forces plotted to bring the present government to power?

A: Yes, I think so.

?What are their objectives?

A: One of their objectives is to divide the country. When Sri Lanka’s armed forces were waging a war against terrorism, foreign movements forced the government to stop it. They attempted to convince the government that the armed forces could not win the war.

When terrorism failed to achieve the division of the country, now they are trying to have it through constitutional changes.

Foreign forces wanted to carve out an Ealam in the North and East. They wanted to make Christianity the State religion as proposed by Norway.

As the foreign powers have pumped large amounts of funds to achieve constitutional changes, the government is trying hard to please them despite public opposition.

? The Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council, C.V. Wigneswaran tried to convince the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter on the importance of a Federal State. When the Thera did not agree with Wigneswarans proposition, the CM later said the government should not listen to the opinions of the Maha Nayaka Theras. What do you think of the situation?

A: Rulers of this country have been advised and guided by the Maha Sangha for more than 2,500 years. So, how can the government disregard such advice? You cannot obliterate the Sinhala-Buddhist identity. Buddhist monks are regarded as guardians of the country. No other Buddhist country has given such reverence and importance to Bhikkhus as in Sri Lanka.

Ordinary Tamil people have no interest in a Federal State. It is wanted by selfish politicians. Have Tamils faced any discrimination by the majority community? If they can say “yes,” I would certainly stand up for their rights.

My position is that Sinhalese have been discriminated in their own country. Sinhala Buddhists cannot erect Buddha statues, purchase lands or live peacefully in the North. However, Tamils enjoy the privilege of living peacefully in any part of the country. This is the bitter truth the Tamil politicians do not wish to accept.

? How does the statement of Sarath Fonseka on war crimes affect Sri Lankas armed forces at the Geneva Human Rights Council?

A: That is definitely going to affect the armed forces in a big way. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Tamil Diaspora and other Tamil movements have praised Sarath Fonseka profusely for his statement. They even have come forward to protect Fonseka’s ministerial portfolio if a No Confidence Motion is brought against him.

Fonseka is an accused in the Geneva Human Rights Council. He will be made guilt-free if he testifies against the war heroes of Sri Lanka who will then be prosecuted.

No Army Commander in the world has done such a disdainful act.

?Buddhist organizations have slammed the government for disrespecting Bhikkhus. Sarath Fonseka is the recent addition to the list of politicians who speak insolently of Buddhist monks. Do you think it has become a fashion to defame members of the Maha Sangha in this country?

A: It seems to be so. We see many government politicians deriding Bhikkhus. They are of the opinion that criticizing and speaking ill of the Maha Sangha can help them to portray a picture of themselves as reconciliation agents.

?It is widely known that you are going to make your foray into politics. Do you have any plans to become a Presidential candidate?

A: I will certainly enter politics. I refrained from taking part in any political campaign in the past. Keeping myself away from politics and politicians has been my policy. I have never visited any politician or sought personal favours. Instead, they used to come to my temple. I cannot prevent anyone from visiting me or the temple as I am a Bhikkhu.

I clearly see that Sinhala Buddhist identity is fading away and the Buddha Sasana is confronted with a threat of extinction.Especially, some Buddhists of this country who have been made puppets of Western non-Buddhist movements act in accordance with their whims and fancies. This is a serious issue since such movements gradually attempt to destroy the country’s Sinhala- Buddhist identity by making use of traitors.

If the Presidential candidate agrees to sign a convention with me to protect the sovereignty of the country, I will make sure that he wins. He has to sign the convention at the Sacred Dalada Maligawa.

?Do you have any plans to bring the former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the next Presidential candidate?

A: Let’s wait and see.

4 Responses to “Sarath Fonseka’s vitriolic attack on Bhikkhus prompts Ven. Gunawansa’s foray into politics”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Quote – I have no idea to contest, but I’d support a candidate who pledges to preserve the Buddha Sasana and the glorious identity of the Sinhalese of this country.

    A noble motive but who decides? I don’t think any candidate from any political clans will pledge to preserve the Buddha Sasana and the glorious identity of the Sinhalese of this country. If so, we must reject them.

    I sincerely hope the venerable and patriotic monk will play the role of venerable Ellawala Medhananda in 2005 to get Mahinda to agree on restarting war and fighting it to a finish with the threat of fielding a popular retired army officer.

    Sinhala voters must not be taken for granted. The pledge must be open and transparent.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Rulers of this country have been advised and guided by the Maha Sangha for more than 2,500 years. So, how can the government disregard such advice? You cannot obliterate the Sinhala-Buddhist identity. Buddhist monks are regarded as guardians of the country. No other Buddhist country has given such reverence and importance to Bhikkhus as in Sri Lanka.

    Very well said, Ven Gunawansa, himiyeni!

    I COMPLETELY AGREE without RESERVATIONS!

    We will NOT LET ANYONE or ANY GROUP, LOCAL oor FOREIGN, destroy the Sinhala Buddhist Community in this RESPLENDENT Motherland of ours!

    Obathumata Theruwan Saranai!

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dilrook,

    Also, what if MULTIPLE CANDIDATE take Ven, Elle Gunawansa’s oath? How will we overcome the divisive infighting among those PATRIOTIC candidates that is likely to ensue?

  4. Dilrook Says:

    @Ananda

    Extremely unlikely. We are lucky if we can find one candidate to agree with him without gimmicks.

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