Radical Buddhist Monk Responsible for Attacks on Religious Minorities Arrested in Sri Lanka

ICC Note:

Radical Buddhist monk and leader of the Buddhist extremist group Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS), Galgoda Aththa Gnanasara, was arrested yesterday by authorities of the new government in Sri Lanka. Under the previous government, who BBS had close ties with, BBS and Gnanasara were allowed to commit attacks on religious minority communities, including Christians, with near impunity. BBS’s relationship with the government changed almost overnight when earlier this year a new political party, heavily supported by religious minorities, won in Sri Lanka’s general elections. Since then, attacks on Sri Lanka’s religious minorities have significantly diminished. Does this mean that persecution in Sri Lanka will continue to diminish under the new government? 

5/27/2015 Sri Lanka (Khaleej Times) – An extremist Buddhist monk who has been responsible for attacks on Sri Lanka’s minority communities was arrested by police on Tuesday.

Galgoda Aththa Gnanasara, who had a close coalition with the former ruling family, was arrested for participating in an unlawful protest last month.

The protest was organized and staged by Gnanasara’s radical political party, the Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) when the former president’s brother, Gotabhya Rajapaksa, who was also the former defense secretary, was called in at the Bribery Commission for an inquisition.

“Despite orders banning protests that day, Gnanasara Thero as well as parliamentarians staged the protest,” said the police.

Following the illegal protest, a Colombo court ordered the priest and politicians to appear before the court on contempt of court charges.

However the Buddhist priest, who has dodged some serious charges including inciting racial violence during the previous regime, went into hiding.

With the BBS claiming that their chief had travelled abroad, the police deployed a team to arrest the monk upon his arrival.

“Gnanasara Thero was out of the country during the previous weeks and returned only on Tuesday,” said the organization’s chief executive officer Dilantha Vithanage yesterday.

Gnanasara gained notoriety during the past five years for propelling a section of the majority Buddhist community into hate-based violence and attacks against the minority Muslims and Christians.

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