18 September, 2019

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BBS, Right To Marry Four Wives And Racism As A Political Tool

By Chandra Kumarage –

Chandra Kumarage

“Our true nationality is mankind” – H.G.Wells.

The government of President Rajapakasa is vexing eloquent that his, is a government under which democracy thrives and the rights of all peoples in the country are protected irrespective of their ethnicity, religion and language.

But what the whole world witnesses is something different. Fanatically racist forces are committing racist crimes either under the protection or acquiescence of the law enforced organs of the government and sometimes being aided and abetted by them. It was reported a few days ago in the media that a recent peaceful candle light vigil by a civil society organisation against the racist and antireligious activities of the Bodu Bala Sena had been dispersed by the police acting together with the BBS. Instead of dispersing the racist mobs the police gave them protection and took the some lawful protestors into custody. Who gives this strength and impunity to the extremist forces? How can they act the way they did in violation of the law of the land? We must remember that this tolerance of racist acts by extremist organization is perpetrated by a government which disperses the lawful and democratic dissent by the working class and civil society organisations in the country by using force and sometimes even by obtaining illegal court orders by misleading judges. No one will ever forget the way how brute force of paramilitary outfits and the police and armed goons was used to disrupt the peaceful and democratic campaign of lawyers against the universally condemned, illegal and unconstitutional impeachment and removal of the Chief Justice.

The fundamental rights to equality, conscience, and religion in the constitution of the country do not contain a proviso making Sinhala Buddhists more equal than others and that they are at liberty to attack places of worship of other citizens of the country and, commit mischief and damage to the properties and business places of those who profess other religions.

How can a government which condones and encourages such unconstitutional and outrageous acts say that they are protecting and fulfilling the rights of all Sri Lankans without any discrimination?

Racism is a peremptory norm of international law from which no derogation has been permitted. It is the duty of governments to enforce appropriate and effective legislation to prevent acts of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and promote a “cultural of prevention and tolerance” and not a “cultural of reaction.” What Governments must do is to bring to justice the perpetrators of crimes motivated with racism and xenophobia and not encourage those crimes for their political advantage. In Sri Lanka those who indulge in acts which amount arouse racism are made punishable under by the ICCPR Act of 2007 of Sri Lanka. One wonders as to why this law has been put to the backburner by the government and law enforcement authorities. This law enacted by this government has made provisions for the indictment and trial of those persons who arouse racism adopting new forms, including tendencies to establish policies based racial, religious, ethnic, cultural and national superiority and exclusivity.

It must be stated that so called extremist organizations have no right to victimize anyone to protect the teachings of the Buddha. Buddhism as it is used is not an ‘ism,’ meaning a religion. Buddha Dhamma in essence is diametrically opposed to religion. It calls upon its followers to train the mind, to abandon all attachments and aversion, and pursue compassion with indiscriminate detachment. Does anyone need a Balasena(armed force) to achieve those goals.

Dilanthe Withanage supposed to be the organizer of the BBS is reported in the media as saying that they are fighting for a single legal system in the country. He has stated further that,”if a Muslim has the right to marry four wives (not four women ) let the Buddhists also have that.” By that statement Withange has betrayed his claim to be a Buddhist. What he is campaigning for is not for the “protection or preservation of Buddhism” or to adhere to Buddhist tenets but a craving to acquire an un-Buddhist right unto himself which is not found in the basic teachings of the Buddha. This exposes the bona fides of the BBS and their Budhistness. Firstly if they have no anti-Islam agenda but only to win over the right enjoyed by the Muslims to marry four women, why are they attacking Muslim places of worship and commit mischief on the businesses houses of the Muslims? What they must do is to lobby the government of Sri Lanka to enact legislation to repeal the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court in the case Abeysundara v. Abaysundara which struck down multiple marriages by non-Muslims in Sri Lanka by embracing Islam. It must be stated for the information of Withanage that even in India, the High Court of Kerala has recently held against multiple marriages even by Muslims except under exceptional circumstances.

Withanage also denies that the BBS is having an anti-Islam agenda–his group wanted “only for Buddhism to get credit for building up Sri Lankan civilization. Other religions can still be practiced” he said. It is very clear that Withanage and his colleagues have no knowledge of the essence of Buddhism and the history of Sri Lanka. It is true that the Sinhala language, arts and crafts and culture developed with the advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. But all that came from India. The Sinhala language that we speak evolved from the Prakrit language and Ardha Magadhi dialect of India. It is an accepted fact that the Buddha preached his Dhamma in all dialects of Northern India from the Present Bangla Desh, Bihar and a part of Utter Pradesh.The architecture, sculpture and other arts and crafts also had been introduced to India after the invasions of Greeks. The Gandhara School of Arts originally introduced those to Indian architecture, sculpture arts and craft later spread all over India. Hindu Kings of the Gupta Empire who followed the Gandhara tradition began the erection of the statues of Hindu deities according to that tradition, which was emulated the Kings of Sri Lanka. The reason for the absence of any statues of the Buddha during the Asokan era proves this fact. It is difficult to understand as to how Buddhism can claim the full credit for building of the civilisation of Sri Lanka as Withanage claims.’ It has to be accepted that all other religions and professed in Sri Lanka and their cultures have enriched the civilization of Sri Lanka.

Out of many definitions to the term ‘civilisisation’ what has been given in the Dictionary of Political Science by Joseph Dunner which is more acceptable, civilization means “The some total of intellectual, aesthetic, technological, and spiritual attainment of a particular society.” Mr. Withanage I may be well advised invite to apply this definition or any other definition of his of choice to state whether the civilization of Sri Lanka belong to Buddhists alone or to all peoples professing a multitude of religions

It is obvious that building civilizations was not the purpose of the Buddha Dhamma. Moreover violence, animosity, anger, revengefulness, bloodletting, and killing to protect the Buddha Dhamma is not found in the discourse of the Buddha. Buddha himself had exhorted that whoever seeks refuge in the Dhamma (the teachings of the Buddha)will be protected by the Dhamma which connotes that there is nothing in the Dhamma to be protected by anyone but the Dhamma will protect all who seek refuge in the Dhamma.

In addressing the Human Right Council’s debate on racism racial discrimination , xenophobia and related forms of intolerance on September 9 2102 the Sri Lankan delegate has stated inter alia that “as a people of a country which has recently emerged from a thirty year protracted terrorist conflict, it was actually aware of the manner in which racial and other monolithic ideologies could be manipulated by extremists seeking to foster fascist and separatist agendas and endanger hatred and intolerance, which pose a threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. This made it more cognizant of the importance of celebrating shared cultural heritage and consolidating peace whilst denouncing racism and related intolerance.” What is happening on the ground in Sri Lanka is entirely different to what the government’s delegate has stated above. Instead of “celebrating shared cultural heritage” the authorities are condoning and even indirectly encouraging anti-religious and racist statements and activities perpetrated by extremist organizations like the BBS and RB.

BBC reported that the BBS has top-level support. According the said report President’s brother the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had been the guest of honor at a ceremony to open a new BBS training school.

Last week armed men stormed the Press of the Uthayan , a news paper that had recently been critical of the army taking over land in the country’s Tamil majority north which the military has denied. But the unanswered question is as to why the law enforcement authorities are unable to identify and arrest the perpetrators of this crime committed in an area with a very heavy armed forces and police presence.

The dominant mood of the country is one of triumphalism even four years after crushing of the Tamil LTTE, which has encouraged the triumphant Sinhalase to bring the other principal minority community before their knees. The regime feels relieved by this mood of the majority Sinhalese whose staple these days is has been triumphalism which has given them an added appetite for disserts like religious intolerance and racism. Soaring prices of commodity items and gasoline and massive increase of electricity tariffs and erosion of their freedoms are not their concern.

I wish to conclude by quoting the great German thinker Arthur Schopenhauer, “every miserable fool who has nothing to all of which he can be proud of adopts as a last resource the pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all his faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority. This is exactly what is happening in our country Sri Lanka.

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Latest comments

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    Uthayan attack was by elements supported by the army.
    Lanka eNews says it all.
    The writer is worried about ‘racism’ only after BBS attacks in the south.
    He ignores the military sponsored ‘racism’ amounting to ‘terrorism’ in the north & east.

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    If Dilanthe wants to marry 4 women (you can`t marry 4 wives) let him do it. He can hand over 3 of them to the BBS monks so that they could take necessary action to increase the “pure Sinhala Buddhist” population.

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      WHY Dilanthe Withanage cannot marry 4 women?????,

      He can marry 4 women,

      BUT, HE MUST EMBRACE ISLAM AND BECOME A MUSLIM.
      Then
      What will happened to Boru Bana Sena???????????????????.
      they must change their organisation Name also,

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        Don’t worry. Boru beeru sena will make up another big lie. We don’t want fellows converting to get married. I am happy about Abeysudara verses Abesundara . That prevented them doing this.

        Most of the so called conversion takes place with marriages. If a Muslim boy falls in love with a Buddhist, she converts. She in this patriarchal society society is unable to make the man change his religion. I know number of cases where the couple had married under the general law. In the majority of these cases if the boy is a Buddhist,it is the girl who changes the religion.

        As a Muslim, I am not in favour of changing religions to get married. I think we should not accept them to Islam.

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    CK, “vexing” (sic)long and eloquent on the obvious is like pouring H2O on the government duck’s posterior!

    The so-called anti-BBS Vigil protesters were very poorly organised, and paid for it.

    You are not waxing eloquent on anything that has not been said before. BBS obviously has an ulterior agenda, and the many statements they make and the many actions they take are merely “smoke and mirrors”.

    The powers that be have cleverly taken advantage of the SL psyche to divide the opposition into small pockets, and consequently rule us into subjugation, while at the same time posturing as the greatest guardians of Democracy!

    What is required is for Civil Society to organise themselves rationally and professionally, and thereafter initiate a sustained response to educate and mobilise right-thinking people at grass-roots level to save this great nation.

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    Let them marry one or more or as much as they can and show their guts. Dilantha, our main worry is that your monks are not allowed to marry here in Sri Lanka. If they marry you can increase the Buddhist population by another 10 million in 10 years easily and after 1000 years your singhalse Buddhist population will be the leading population in the world!

    Please in the name of LOARD BUDDAH do this for the sake of your community and culture. This will reduce child abuse in the temples, rape, cheating own wife and Children. this will also reduce your girls going abrod as migrant workers to roam with Indian, Pakistani, Bangsladeshi, Arab, Philipino, Korian and white men and boys. Your new amendment should allow monks (BBS) to marry as much as possible and others to have maximum UPTO 20! Dilantha is this enough?

    If the monks in Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Korea and China are allowed to marry why not here! LOARD BUDDAH was married and had a child. He never divorce his wife before he left the kingdom! So, please, please marry and enjoy the value of being born as human!

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      Well All the route Cause is that the Monks have to Marry 4 or more Wifes as per the Sri Lanka Monks AS they doesn’t have to work nor earn for living since everything is looked after by the poor villages and socerity and they have all the freedom n free time in the world and can spare and use the time by visiting different wifes and produce more and more babies id boys born can send for schools after monkhood free education and if girls means as housemaid to bring income much needed foreign exchange for the coffer of the MARA GOVT
      pLEASE asK the buddha sana MINISTER TO PASS THIS LAW BEFORE HE PASS OUT THE BEDRIDDEN DMJAYA and we also will benefit by way of marry more and send them as HOUSEMAID AND ENJOY WITH THE ARRACK AND OTHERS WITH ANY BURDEN TO GOVT AND INCREASE THE COFFER OF MARA GOVT NO WORRIES BE HAPPY

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    Polygamy, as well as marrying at a very young age was the practice in many parts of the world including Arabia, during the time of Prophet Muhammad. This practice was not brought about by Islam. During that time men could marry any number of wives without a limit. It was Islam that put a limit to this practice by limiting the number of women a man can marry, upto four. But the Quran puts a further limit on it by saying ‘…, but if you cannot do justice between them, then marry ONLY ONE.
    According to this, Islam neither forced any man to marry four wives, nor was it a condition to marry four women, to be a Muslim. But if someone does marry more than one woman, it is a condition that he treat them equally, fairly and with justice. But if he cannot do justice between them, then they should marry only one.
    In real life, we see only a minority of a minority who has more than one wife. The Vast majority of men have only one wife, and many find it difficult to lookafter even one wife and children. Gone are the days, when Muslims had many children. These days many Muslims I know are having only two children, some have only one, and some have none.

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    For Dilanthe and the mankind
    Males under Muslim law have lots of privileges. Can get married to 4 women and it is so easy for a man to divorce. It is a boon for mankind though women may resent it.
    These changes would be welcome by those who have serious affairs with married women and cannot get married.
    That is why most men convert to Islam to get married , but according to the writer sadly the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court in the case Abeysundara v. Abaysundara struck down multiple marriages by non-Muslims in Sri Lanka by embracing Islam. So either change the case law or change the Muslim Marriages Act.
    What you can do “horin” ( rougish way )you can do “elipita” ( in the day light) It may be useful for many who have affairs with married women who are unable to get a divorce and also get married to that person later. This means our Sinhala population can increase faster. Even the clergy can make use of this to change the demography. Easy solution to a serious problem that threatens our race.
    A very very senior member of the judiciary had these problems in the past. He appears in Buddhist channels.It is not too late for such people to lead a legal and a honourable life

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    They want it legalised, is it ? Not just four, they have many on the side.

    Abortions, illegitimate children, fathers raping daughters, brothers raping sisters, infidelity, child abuse, elderly parents being neglected, prostitution, gambling, consuming alcohol, Sinhala drug dealers – all these are fine in this Sinhala Budhist country.

    But not halal food or Muslim women in abayas !

    You can even consume meat as long as the animal is slaughtered by someone else. What hypocrisy !

    Buddhism can be protected only by practising it properly, not by the BBS or anyone else.

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    Be it the Halal issue, the Dambulla mosque issue, right to marry 4 women etc… if BBS or any other group has genuine grievances, they can go to courts and other official channels and deal with it in a manner which is fitting for civilized society.

    At the same time, the arm of the law should bring to task all those engaging in acts of racism and ensure all grievances are channeled through the system.

    Dilantha Withanage, Gnasara thero and all those around them are shockingly ignorant and spreading a lot of lies which can be easily disproven and refuted if they come forward with them through official channels.

    The author is spot on in implying that all of this is nothing but a political tool for the powers that be.

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    Dodu, you have got your facts, wrong. The Lord Buddha did not have a child after his Enlightenment. Prince Siddhartha according to His Life Story, was married and had a child, BEFORE he went Forth into the Wilderness to Search for the Truth, and become the Lord Buddha, the Enlightened One!
    Dodu if you are married and have children, you can still Go Forth and try to attain Enlightenment as a Buddhist Monk, but you cannot have a family Life and also be a Buddhist Monk.

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      But the monks (BBs) wanted to have family not one more. My suggestion is let them marry as much as they can, no one is going to bothered about it. I said LOARD BUDDAH was also married and had a child. My point is if a Buddhist monk in Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Korea, China and Vietnam can marry why not these BBS monks in Sri Lanka? It is not to hert any body. This suggestion is for those who wanted to marry once, twice, thrice…. or as much as they can. Let them (BBS) ammend the rules of their religion and enjoy the life without worrying about other religions.

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    Marry 4 times and you are punished 4-fold with 4 mothers-in-law!

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    Hats off to this writer.

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    These BBS monks are asking for what we know to be as Islamic rights. But they are demanding it not for themselves, but their Sinhala Buddhist followers. Just like their eating habit when they want something, they request it for their neighbor. They have separate staff (layman) like Dilantha to take care of what they (as monks) are prohibited to do, taking care of their worldly affairs. They are even being worshiped by police officers. How can anyone expect them to uphold the law when these monks turn criminal? They abstain from killing animals and make a hue and cry about such acts, but get served Chicken, lamb and meat, fish (fresh and dried) for their daily meals. They don’t really care the source nor how it came onto their plates. They preach to other ‘don’t tell lies’, but they themselves are telling the worst lies about Muslims. They are not supposed to handle money, but those monks in Parliament sell their duty free car permits and make millions in the process. Drunkards, womanizers and rapists are common labels used to describe some of these monks. Can anyone expect and good to come from them?

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    I haven’t seen any Muslim with four wives – it must be very rare. However, it is very unfair denying that right to Sinhala Buddhists. They also should be allowed to marry up to four women. Women right activists will criticize me, but they also have a solution. Before several decades, Sri Lankans had the tradition of one woman marrying all the brothers in a family. That tradition could be brought back with an amendment that instead of all brothers in a family, any man from any family!

    Prophet Mohamed married his second wife only after the death of the first wife. That tradition is not followed by the Muslims who marry more than one nowadays. If the Muslims are strictly following the teachings of the Prophet, they should first marry a rich old woman and after her death, marry up to four women or girls!

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      He was first married to a lady 15 years elder to him. I like any one to follow this tradition. Parents will freak out. He married other women after the death of the 1st wife

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    Bodu bala sena became BADU BALA SENA

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    We expect the preachers of various religions to propagate peaceful coexistence all communities but they do the opposite like political parties in our country. However, I respect the sportsmen and artists who have succeeded to extent to bring about some smile on the faces of humanity by forgetting their ethnicity. Lately we saw Psy of South Korea and Chris Gayle of West Indies were outstanding! I am really shocked to see this reversal for the long existed harmony, except for the LTTE conflict,by the hard work of some extremists group. Our president says that we all should be identified as only Sri Lankan, then why he and his brother covertly supporting a certain extremist group? This puzzles everyone not only in Sri Lanka but in the entire world. This has brought enough shame to our country.

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    We expect the preachers of various religions to propagate peaceful coexistence among all communities but they do the opposite like political parties in our country do. However, I respect the sportsmen and artists who have succeeded to some extent to bring about some smile on the faces of humanity by forgetting their ethnicity. Lately we saw Psy of South Korea and Chris Gayle of West Indies were outstanding in their task! I am really shocked to see this sudden reversal for the long existed harmony, except for the LTTE conflict,by the hard work of some extremists groups. Our president says that we all should be identified as only Sri Lankans, then why he and his brother are covertly supporting certain extremist groups? This puzzles everyone not only in Sri Lanka but in the entire world. This has brought enough shame to our country.

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    The sad truth is that Sri Lanka under MR has descended into a state of anarchy defying all norms of civilised standard. But MRs strenth lies in his appeal to a gallery ( the majority I am afraid to add) which is full of racists , thugs and the like an environment in which he grew up.
    It is not going to be easy to dislodge him but a momentum has built up which is gathering strengh and he will face his day at Court and pay for his sins as all the dictators have faced and history is littered with similar stories. So I am hopeful as otherwise Lord Buddhas teachings will be meaningless.

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    The Colombo Telegraph claims that it is strictly a public interest website relating to Sri Lankan matters and is run by a group of exiled journalists but more and more what we see is that some authors are being asked to write articles against Sinhala Buddhists. Mr Kumarage distorts the truth. The constitution in Sri lanka gives prominence to the Buddhism and it has been there during the era of ancient kings, after 1815 during the Colonial rule and after obtaining freedom in 1948. Giving prominence to the religion of a the majority by countries is nothing new. If you look at the UK, although generally calls themselves secular, there are several seats in the Lords allocated to Christion bishops from major cities, allowing the post holder Christian priests to involve in politics and vote in each and every decision taken by he Lords.
    Also should the majority Sinhala people apologise for mood of triumphalism years after crushing the Tamil LTTE organization which killed innocent citizens and whoever against them whether they were Tamils or Sinhalas for about 30 years. Crushing terrorism is something to be proud of, celebrated and monitored so that it does not raise its ugly head again.
    In the past, during the colonialism and whenever there is a threat to the majority , the Buddhist priests stood up. From Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala to Ven Athureliya Rathana, who stood up for innocent Sinhala people at Aravi Aru and triggered the crushing of LTTE by the Rajapakse Government there have been busshidt priests who took the lead. Bodhu Bala Sena raises the grievances of the majority Sinhala people. There is no point of slandering them but the grievences of the majority should be addressed. Then if not Bodhu Bala Sena , another organisation will stand up in time raising the same grievances.

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      Samaradasa,

      The problem we have in Sri Lanka today is that we have people like youself who are in the majority and hold racist views which has blighted the Country.

      First of all let me correct you with your definition of an Author.

      An “author” is generally considered to be someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study.
      So it is incorrect to brand everyone you are referring to as authors . I wonder where you got the information from that the so called authors are being asked to write articles against Sinhala Buddhists.

      I think CT should be commended for giving everyone an equal platform irrespective of race or religion

      Your assertion that the constitution in Sri lanka gives prominence to Buddhism and it has been there during the era of ancient kings, after 1815 during the Colonial rule and after obtaining freedom in 1948 has to be looked at as two seperate time periods.

      1) Giving prominence to Buddhism during the era of ancient Kings is against the back drop of two seperate Kingdoms one TAMIL and the other SINHALESE ( the last being Ellalan & Thutta Gemunu) and one would noramlly expect and accept what existed.
      2) Since independance Sri Lanka has been under majority rule and Sinhalese language and Buddhism by the very nature has been the dominant force and this was thrust on the Tamils which is the cause of the current problems .

      Giving prominence to the religion of a the majority by countries might not be nothing new but it cannot be at the expense of other religions as is happening now with the emergence of BBS and the other extreme groups.
      Also should the majority Sinhala people apologise for mood of triumphalism years after crushing the Tamil LTTE organization which killed innocent citizens and whoever against them whether they were Tamils or Sinhalas for about 30 years. Crushing terrorism is something to be proud of, celebrated and monitored so that it does not raise its ugly head again.

      I find the above satement naive and arrogant. I think your memory is short and you onley talk about the last 30 years but conveniently ignore and forget the previous 33 years since independance when you killled thousands of innocent defenceless Tamils whe there was no LTTE .

      In answer to your question YES you should apologise for your crimes as you were in power and still in power. So dont preach to us about being proud of crushing terrorism ( we call it freedom fight) which has now been replaced by STATE TERRORISM which is sweeping the country.

      I think your head needs examining as I find the following abhorant.

      1) You are comparing the Monks standing up against Colonial rule in the past and the same group sending message of hate as they are doing now to be on equal par.

      2) Bodhu Bala Sena raises the grievances of the majority Sinhala people. There is no point of slandering them but the grievences of the majority should be addressed.
      What is the Grievance of the majority Sinhalese please:
      Would it be that
      a) The country is being taken over by Tamils and Muslims
      b) There is widespread poverty? If that is the case why take it out on the minorities.
      c) State terrorism but then they are part of it.
      Are you saying that they should be applauded for their campaign of hate. With people like who form the majority what future does Sri lanka have. Frankly nothing.

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