Despite continuous accusations being leveled at the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) of its direct involvement in instigating anti-Muslim violence in Southern Sri Lanka, its General Secretary Galagoda Atte Gnanasara claims it was they who took steps to simmer down the aggression in the area.
In an interview Divaina – a local Sinhala newspaper, Gnanasara has stated that the BBS visited Aluthgama last Sunday in order to use their ‘expertise’ to calm the residents who were tensed by the alleged attack on a monk by three Muslim youth in the area.
“When the aggressed crowds were beyond the control of the law enforcement authorities, it was we who stepped in and settled them. I have seen criticisms leveled at the speech I made in Aluthgama on Sunday, but I never at any point ordered anyone to attack Muslim shops. I simply voiced the frustration of the Sinhala Buddhists in the area and they told me they felt very lighthearted after listening to my speech,” he has stated in his interview.
The outspoken monk has gone on to claim that it was a group of outsiders that created havoc by pelting stones at the crowds who were heading home after the BBS rally after they were calmed down.
“Violence in Aluthgama was a result of the Police inaction over the harassment of Sinhala Buddhists including a priest, by Muslims in the area. How can you expect a country’s majority to remain placid before continuous attacks on them?” Gnanasara has questioned.
He has also criticized Sri Lanka’s foreign policy during the interview.
Responding to a question on Sri Lanka being isolated in the international politics due to lack of support by Muslim countries following the anti-Muslim violence – particularly concerning human rights allegations leveled at Sri Lanka, Gnanasara has noted – “This is a result of the misguided foreign policies of Sri Lanka. If I was the President I would side with the Western forces not the Muslim countries because I can very clearly foresee the dangers of befriending Muslim extremists 15 years down the line,” he has stated.