The Bodu Bala Sena believes its anti-Halal agitation is far more important than taking up the Government’s move to create casino zones in the capital Colombo, the group’s Chief Executive Officer Dilanthe Withanage told Colombo Telegraph.
“The Bodu Bala Sena is against casinos. But we believe that compared with the Halal issue in the country, the casino issue is a minor one,” Withanage in an interview with Colombo Telegraph.
Withanage said it believed the bigger issue was that the President’s Provincial Governor of the Western Province Alawi Moulana was requesting all mayors in the province to cooperate and assist with the annual Haj Cattle Sacrifice on a letterhead that features the Dharma Chakra, a Buddhist symbol.
“We are against casinos and we have already had a press conference regarding this. But this Halal issue is much bigger,” Withanage said, adding that the BBS did not want to mix agitation campaigns.
Asked if the anti-Halal resurgence campaign was aimed at distracting from the Government’s controversial casino legitimising legislation, Withanage said the BBS had no idea the Government would move to present the bill the same week the group had organised its campaign.
“Right now, it is the Halal issue that is important,” Withanage said.
The Government last night decided to refrain from tabling the controversial gazette to legalise casinos in Parliament after the opposition led by its Spokesman on Economic Affairs Harsha de Silva kept up a relentless campaign against James Packer’s tax-free casino project and exposed Government moves to surreptitiously introduce the legislation in Parliament. Key Government allies the Jathika Hela Urumaya and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress also informed President Mahinda Rajapaksa they would not be voting for the controversial legislation, prompting the Government to withdraw the bill for amendment.
We publish below the Governor Alawi Moulana’s letter form Dilanthe’s Faceebok;