The Colombo Fort Magistrate today issued an arrest warrant against Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary, Galagoda Atte Gnanasara, for failing to appear before courts despite two consecutive summons over a contempt of court charge.
Incidentally, this is the second arrest warrant issued against the firebrand monk within less than a month, the first was issued on May 25, 2017 on charges of inciting racial hatred and for hate speech against the Muslim community. Despite the police claiming that they had deployed police units to arrest Gnanasara, he continues to be in hiding, claiming there was a conspiracy to assassinate him.
There have been serious accusations levelled against two senior ministers in the coalition government that they are aiding and abetting Gnanasara, by providing him a safe house for him to hide. However, these two ministers are yet to formally deny the accusations.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that his government will bring in new laws if needed to stop religious and ethnic violence. Despite the many rhetoric, both the government and the police have been accused of soft peddling action in spite of the continuing attacks against the Muslim owned businesses. Police has said at least 16 Muslim owned shops have come under attack since April.
“The police as well as all other relevant authorities have been ordered to ensure law and order is maintained,” Wickremesinghe said in a special statement.
But despite the directive its three weeks since police deployed units to arrest Gnanasara, and the police claim they are unable to arrest him as he is in ‘hiding’. But a retired police officer pointed out that the police should ideally take in BBS’s Chief Executive Dilanthe Withanage for interrogation and ask him to disclose the location of the safe house where Gnanasara is currently in hiding. “It’s very simple, a person who associates Gnanasara closely says he is in a safe house, and all the police has to do is take that person in for questioning and if he refuses to disclose the location, arrest him for obstruction of justice. But, it’s starting to look obvious that a powerful hand is even controlling the police,” the retired police officer pointed out.
On Tuesday, Gnanasara filed a Fundamental Rights petition seeking the court’s intervention to prevent his arrest from the first arrest warrant issued in May.(By Munza Mushtaq)