22 May, 2022


Back To 1915 On 1983 Scale: Who Is More Suited To Succeed The Throne Than Gota?

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

The attack on the Grandpass mosque last week is the latest of the never ending anti-Muslim provocations conducted by Bodu Bala Sena and Sinhala Ravaya with their extremist mob. Ever since the defeat of the LTTE in 2009 these un-Buddhist militants have taken an apparent pledge to cleanse the island of Sri Lanka of all non-Buddhist elements and transform it into a pure land of Theravada Buddhism in their own image. The real tragedy is the inaction against and toleration of the activities of this unruly minority by the ruling authorities who are morally, legally and constitutionally bound to protect the security and welfare all its citizens. What is the end game of all this conspiracy?

I want to apologise at the outset to the vast majority of the venerable Sangha for referring to the following incident, which I heard in 1957 when the Prime Minister of the time, S.W.R.D Bandaranaike, was gasping for his breadth in the hospital after he was fatally wounded by Somarama Thera. According to one story that was circulating at that time, the then leader of the United National Party, Sir John Kotalawela, had gone to visit the wounded PM and while holding his hand had remarked, “I tied down the dogs, you let them loose and they bit you”. Whether he actually said this or not, the underlying message behind that remark is not too difficult to comprehend. Politics is not for the Sangha, and politicians who employ members of this respectable institution as tools to achieve their short term objectives are not only devaluing the sacredness of this noble body but also are corrupting democracy itself.

The Sangha certainly has an important role to play in the pastoral care and welfare of the society. Their advice on the ethics and morality of actions in the light of Buddhist teachings should be sought by political leaders, and it was in that context that in 1946 the scholar monks of the Vidyalankara Privena made the declaration that “it is nothing but fitting for Buddhist (Bhikkus?) to identify themselves … (in) activities conducive to the welfare of our people whether these activities can be labelled politics or not, as long as they do not constitute an impediment to the religious life of Bhikkus.” Can anyone explain how the violent and destructive behaviour of BBS is ‘conducive’ to the ‘welfare’ of the Buddhists let alone Sri Lankans and how it does ‘not constitute an impediment to the religious life of Bhikkus?

In its design to make Sri Lanka a uni-religious, uni-cultural and unilingual nation BBS has determined to eliminate all other minorities not only economically, politically and culturally but also if possible even physically. This is the danger that the country is facing and by tolerating the actions of BBS powerful elements in the government are aiding and abetting the growth of a un-Buddhist totalitarian political power base. After vanquishing the LTTE this unruly mob in a mood of schadenfreude is bent on inflicting further humiliation on the defeated party. While the ancient Buddhist hero Dutugemunu was so magnanimous towards his defeated enemy that he built a mausoleum in Elara’s honour the current heroes are denying any self-respect to the Tamil minority and they have now turned their vengeful attention towards the Muslims.

Independent observers have compiled a list of 103 incidents of anti-Muslim provocations between the month of January and March this year alone. That number will increase enormously if one were to push the date back to 2009. In every such incident the Muslim community had shown absolute calmness without reacting in any way except to bring the matter to the attention of the authorities. So far the government has not arrested or punished any of the perpetrators. In actual fact BBS and its mob want the Muslims to react so that the violence could be spread nationwide to turn it into another July 1983. These militants want a recreation of 1915 on the scale of 1983. The Grandpass mosque attack in which the BBS mob sprang into action at the sound of bells ringing from the adjacent Buddhist temple had all the hallmarks of a premeditated plan. Had not the curfew been declared, even though belatedly, the situation would have certainly escalated with horrendous consequences far beyond the confines of Colombo; yet, there is no guarantee however that another mosque would not be attacked in another place at another time.

Many fingers are pointing at the Defence Secretary (DS) for and accusing him of collaborating with the militants. Critics may say that such an accusation is outlandish and far-fetched but the facts that none of the perpetrators has been brought to books so far and that in many instances of violence including the one in Grandpass the security forces which are directly under the command of the Defence Secretary had remained inactive until the mob had caused sufficient mayhem to property and life add credence to the accusers’ claim. How does one rationalise the behaviour of the DS?

Under dynastic regimes political power-struggle amongst siblings and relatives had been a historical norm. The Nepalese royal massacre in 2001 was one of the most tragic expressions of that struggle in recent memory. In Buddhist Sri Lanka the Rajapakse dynasty currently rules. The top three positions in the government, the presidency, the ministry of defence, and the ministry of economic development are controlled by three brothers and among them they manage about seventy per cent of the national budget. Another sibling is the speaker of the parliament. In addition, there is a cluster of the dynasty members holding strategic positions in the country’s public, private and diplomatic sectors. The dynasty’s political tentacles have spread far and wide into Sri Lanka’s political and economic super structure.

As long as the security forces are in support of the regime prospect of any regime change either through ballots or bullets is a distant dream. However, within the dynasty there is always a possibility of a reshuffle. It is in this context that the anti-Muslim manoeuvres of the DS have to be rationalised.  Of all the siblings it is he who has created a stature for himself as an impeccable Buddhist who is not going to compromise either on the security of the nation or its hegemonic Buddhist character. After the defeat of the LTTE one journalist baptised the civil war with the DS’s moniker. It was the DS who took the decision to put the whole nation and its economy on a war footing and it was he who decided on the shape of the outcome. The glory of victory however, went to the President. Of the three top siblings it is the DS’s family that is one hundred per cent Buddhist, while the rest have non-Buddhist and foreign elements mixed into them. Moreover it was the DS and not the President who was invited to open the Buddhist Leadership Academy established by BBS. In his address to the academy DS said: “These Buddhist Clergy who are engaged in a nationally important task should not be feared or doubted by anyone”.  His support to BBS may be one of the reasons why those clergy urged the President make the DS as the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs also. Thus it is clear that the DS is decisively building his popular base amongst the most vocal and radical Buddhist elements. Still, BBS and the Sinhala Ravaya do not command the support of the vast majority of Buddhists in the country.

That may change if the anti-Muslim provocations turn into a Sinhalese –Muslim racial riot like in 1915 but on a grander scale like the anti-Tamil pogrom in 1983. In the case against the LTTE it was easier to garner the support of the majority because LTTE was determined to divide the country. In the case against the Muslims it will be much harder for the militants to get such broad because the Muslims have always been a law-abiding community and always acted in support of the majority practically in every national issue. This is why the militants are trying to create a religious confrontation between Buddhism and Islam. By sensationalising through cheap journalism an impending but imagined danger to the nation supposedly arising from non-existent Jihadists and pockets of Al-Qaida terrorists in the country these rabble-rousers are justifying their acts of anti-Muslim violence as a legitimate struggle to protect Buddhism and the country. By not controlling this mob and their actions the regime is earning notoriety internationally. The DS’s insouciance towards if not total support to these groups will tarnish the Presidency, because in the ultimate analysis the buck stops with him. Pictures of mosque attacks and reports of anti-Muslim violence are being televised and broadcast in Muslim countries. Lee Kuan Yew, the veteran leader of Singapore has already dubbed the President and not the DS as a Sinhalese extremist. It is in this progressive erosion of the President’s international image that one sees the political rationale for the DS’s strategy. The more the President’s image falls into disrepute locally and internationally the louder will be the clamour from within and outside for regime change. Given the nature of the support structure built around the regime that change will not be a dynastic change but a change in its leadership. Who is more suited to succeed the throne than the Defence Secretary? Perhaps after that succession the anti-Muslim fervour may diminish.

*Ameer Ali, School of Management and Governance, Murdoch University, Western Australia

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Latest comments

  • 0

    From 2013 we went back to 2009 genocide of Tamils, to 1983 pogrom against Tamils to 1977, 1960, 1958, 1956 anti-Tamil riots.

    Now we are talikng about 1915 anti-Muslim pogroms.

    Soon with the modern day Dhuda Gemunu in place we might go back to Gemunu-Ellarlan era!

    Aren’t we well and truly going backwards?
    Independence seems to be a curse on Ceylon.

  • 0

    You are cunning man, I can understand your hidden agenda. you are trying to create problems in our Royal Family. (I am sure you are getting paid by Anton Balasighma’s relatives in WA :-) )
    DS (Ghota) has all qualities to be the next King of Siri Lakna, that is true, but we all Siri Lankan Buddhists believe in Prince Namal, he is the our next legitimate king when MR goes to Niwana.

    • 0

      Anura you said well
      Yes Gota has all qualification to become the Genocde king like Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe

    • 0

      Hey, You fool Anura… Are you day dreaming. Before Gota the Gunda OR Prince Namal the Nasty become the King of Lanka, there wont be any Sri Lanka or Budhdhists to rule for them. everything will be wiped out from the Lankan soil including yourself and your families, with the Dirty Bomb.
      Do you know the meaning of this. If you assholes continue behaving like this,,, you will see the end of Lanka very soon.#
      Haaa,, Haaa ,, you idiot and fool. Wake up.
      Let the Sri Lankan peoples live in peace or you will all Perish from the face of the earth.


      • 0

        Nanmal Virumbi

        Why cannot you understand that Anura’s comments are tongue-in-the-cheek?

        • 0

          sorry anuara. I am not angry with u.
          Of course, I am really venting my anger with our Un-crowned Roayal Family and their croonies……..

  • 0

    “….when MR goes to Niwana.”
    That will be the Day! ..If it is so easy to attain Nirvana by following a Philosophy of ‘See no Evil, Hear no Evil, So do Nothing about it’!

  • 0


    Many fingers are pointing at the Defence Secretary (DS) for and accusing him of collaborating with the militants.


    Lets assume for a minute Gota IS responsible. What would be the motive and why now? Why would Gota embarrass his brother when Navi Pillai is about to land and CHOGM is around the corner? Just look at the motive and look in the opposite direction for a culprit.

    This is how it perhaps unfolds. A guy moves into the neighborhood calling himself a “true Buddhist”. He makes contact with the local Buddhist riff-raff pointing the finger at Moslems. He then does the opposite with the local Moslem riff-raff. The inciting would be cunning and subtle. Once the trouble breaks out this guy would not even be around.

    Also forget everything you know about “black July” and relearn it here.


    • 0

      Yes, Vibushana, it appears that the BBS and RB are funded by foreign elements intended on destabilising the regime of the noble siblings! Why not spread this truth, country wide?


  • 0

    Dear readers please read the article below to understand the fears of Buddhists in Sri Lanka:

    “The Existential Fears of Buddhists in Sri Lanka must be given high priority and addressed without delay” by Shenali D Waduge in lankaweb.com.

    This article gives an idea of the thinking behind the attacks on Mosques/Hindu temples/Churches/ Muslim business interests.

    After reading the article I understand the fears in the minds of Sinhala Buddhist intellectuals:

    They (people who subscribe to this feeling/thinking) fear that Muslims, Christians, Tamils and Hindus will in the future swamp them and displace them from their dominating majority position today.

    They are not worried about Tamils because their numbers have been coming down drastically since independence because of the state actions. Furthermore, they are considered a defeated people – easily subjugated. You will notice that the estate Tamils are virtually reduced to slaves earning foreign exchange for the country.

    They say the Muslim population is increasing faster than the Sinhalese. Also they claim Muslims want non-Muslim spouses converted to Islam – which will dilute Sinhala Buddhists.

    Christians, they say are converting Sinhala Buddhist into Christians,
    again depleting Sinhala Buddhists.

    They point out the conversions of Afghanistan to Indonesia, among other countries in South East Asia, that were once wholly Buddhist to Islamic countries.

    Sinhala Buddhist intellectuals also claim that Myanmar has a similar problem threatening Buddhists there.

    I am sure they know that a substantial part of India was once Buddhist, and was reversed by the Hindus.

    These fears of the majority have to be addressed in an amicable manner to work out a viable solution to the ethnic/religious problems.

    I have a feeling that the ruling elite, the religious hierarchy, the armed forces, the intellectuals and a substantial part of the population subscribe to the views expressed by the author above.

    Instead of addressing the root causes of the problems we cannot attribute it to this man or the other or the so-called extremists for the occurrences of anti-non-Buddhist activities.

    First formulate the problem, and then solve it.
    How do we solve this complex problem? I don’t know!

    • 0

      Attacks on “Mosques/Hindu temples/Churches/ Muslim business interests” in Sri Lanka by Sinhala Buddhists are insignificant in numbers even per capita when compared to Muslim attacks on Christian and other places of warship.

    • 0

      Is it really a problem? In what way do you feel that other communities are over taking the Sinahala-Buddhist community?

      Is violence really the solution?

      If the Sinahala people were helped to raise their socio-economic status would that solve the problem automatically?

      The same thing was said in the late 70s and early 80s and took the same approach to solve this problem, and today what is the result?

  • 0

    you got paid by Namal?

  • 0

    You said well
    since the defeat of the LTTE in 2009 these un-Buddhist militants have taken an apparent pledge to cleanse the island of Sri Lanka of all non-Buddhist elements

    See now you realize a country need a check and balance
    Gota’s war on terror is now terrorizing the entire country and every citizens feeling the pain

  • 0

    Highly balanced view of the volatile problem reflecting the intellectual capacity of Dr Ameer Ali. As for his reference to the remarks made by Sir John who first spoke and then thought,regarding the killer monk Somarama, this is not the first time that I have been told of this. As an aside, may I venture to state that that Somarama was only the monk who was used by Buddharakhitha Thero the Head of the Kelaniya Maha Vihara the first accused in the Bandaranaike assassination to kill SWRD. The story goes that Sir john had also visited Mrs. Vimala Wijeyawardena the then health minister and the concubine of Buddharakhita, bowed down as if worshipping her private part explaining to her that he had come to pay respects to the sacred relics of the Kelaniya Maha Vihara. This story may offend some Buddhists and to those my apologies. Bensen

    • 0

      Gay Bensen Burner,
      Why are you talking about Somarama and apologizing Buddhists , you idiot?

  • 0

    An article to consider reading from the website given.


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  • 0

    Without highlighting the errors in the that Champika wrote or countering the points he made on the mosque-warehouse issue, this writer try to impress upon the readers about an Islamaphobia in a round about way.

    We Sinhala Buddhists believe you Muslim are jointly and severally planning to turn Sri Lanka a Muslim country just like you did in Afganistan and etc. Otherwise why do you lot breed like rabbits.

    I read some Muslims writing here to say that they live Sri Lanka and not in Saudis and therefore they are not Saudian or like minded fanatics. But we see all Muslims follow the same Koran and therefore all Muslims have the same values.

    We read what Muslim majority do to minority Coptics in Egypt right now. And that is of no comparison to what what Muslims claim we Sinhala Buddhists do Muslims here. This writer should read what Muslims do to followers of other religions in Muslim majority countries. Then put himself in our shoes and visualize why BBS, RB and etc are concerned about Muslims in Sri Lanka.

    Just for one example, International Business Times reported that the other day that in Egypt, the Churches of Abraham and the Virgin Mary in Menya were burning after Morsi supporters set fire to the outside of the building exteriors and smashed through doors. They have also attacked churches in Dilga and Sohag.

    Russia Today reported that at least 1,000 pro-Morsi protesters were involved in the attack before police armed with teargas dispersed them. It reported that Muslim Brotherhood members also threw firebombs at Mar Gergiss church in Sohag, a city with a large community of Coptic Christians who represents up to 6 percent of Egypt’s 84 million people, causing it to burn down, the official MENA news agency said.

    Protesters threw molotov cocktails at the Bon Pasteur Catholic Church and Monastery in Suez, setting it ablaze and breaking windows.

    • 0

      Okay. US govt is an elected govt of a Christian nation. They killed 3 million Vietnamese Buddhists. Why are you not talking of that?

      Or the Christian nation of Germany killing 6 million Jews?

      • 0


        Could you give us the number of people killed by the Japanese Buddhists in China and rest of the South East Asia prior to 1945.

  • 0

    Sinhala Buddhist should NEVER turn violent or take violence as a doctrine. Instead , we should use wisdom.

    The problem that has arisen is due to :
    1. Bad planning at local government level
    2. Bad policing of an event
    3. Bad leadership given to the Buddhist in question.

    Buddhist must help themselves and each other not worry about Muslims, Christians and Hindus….Let’s get on with our lives in a peaceful, intelligent manner and NO ONE WOULD BE ABLE to HARM US.


  • 0

    I think Prof Ameer Ali is on the right track in discerning, as many do not — or do not wish to– the process of internal re-composition of the regime and the creeping displacement of the center of gravity.

  • 0

    Ali is a very dodgy character who thrives on dividing people. He does his business among divided people. His stunts were all exposed in Australia when he tried to divide the Australian Muslims. He was in the team which aggravated the hatred between the Tamils and Sinhalese. He still is trying to make a living out of LTTE rhetoric. Lots of Muslims in Sri Lanka profited handsomely and advanced their futures and ambitions by attacking the LTTE and Tamils. The problem with them is that the war is over and they are running out of business. Now I don’t know what game he is up to. Looks like he is running out of options. The Muslims and Sri Lnakan should be aware of this clown.

    • 0

      muslims speak Tamil language. Then why are treated as a “separate” people?

      If the people be given IDs on the basis of religion, why dont the government recognize HINDUS as a separate Race or group?

      Muslims simply cheat Sinhalese by telling they are the mix of Arabs and Sinhalese. If that is the case then why are these Muslims speak, study in Tamil?

      Arab+ Sinhala=Tamil? This kind of mockery must be stopped. All these Muslims came from Kerala and Tamil nadu. Sinhalese first learn the history of the Muslims.

      After the war the Tamils started to come back to the state sectors. That is an alarming issue for Muslims because all these days the Muslims “occupied” the seats of the Tamils!

  • 0

    One of the Bros. is patiently biding time for the UN Visit and CW Mtg. to
    be over and take a firmer stand as to have SL shall be governed, for
    at least two decades!

  • 0

    Gota is mentally ill. He will some day kill hos brother and come into power. he is running the country/ A psychopathic asshole.

  • 0

    What writer trying to say is, MaRa is not in total control.

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