The Indian news portal Rediff.com states the extremist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is being actively funded by Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), in their attempts to push its South Indian agenda.
In a news report that appeared on the site this afternoon, it states that the formation of the BBS was a turning point for the ISI that was desperately attempting to get a foothold in Sri Lanka for the past few years. According to the news report, the anti-Muslim agenda propagated by the BBS within the Muslim community had led the Muslims seeking for cover and protection, right into the hands of the ISI.
Rediff has quoted a source who has claimed that ISI’s Colombo module grew in strength only following the prominence of the BBS and its Buddhist supremacy agenda, which they state was cleverly exploited by the former Pakistani High Commission Consular Officer in Sri Lanka, Amir Zubair Siddiqui to send his agents into Muslim dominated areas to spread the word about the BBS and how the Muslims are in dire need of protection. The ‘source’ has noted that it was this strategy that helped the ISI module in Colombo to grow into over 50 operatives within just one year, as opposed to the meager five they had during the past decade.
The news report has also noted that for the ISI, the Colombo operations are very significant as their attempt is to set up dedicated routes between Colombo and the Kodikkarai fishing port in Tamil Nadu in order to deploy it as a smuggling route for drugs, arms as well as to send in cadres.
Meanwhile, BBS CEO Dilanthe Withanage responding to the claims made about his organisation being funded by the ISI said that he is not surprised by the allegations.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if these people say that the Almighty God is also a creation of the BBS. They are extremists,” he said.
He added the allegations made against the BBS are ways in which they are attempting to justify their presence in Sri Lanka while stating Pakistani extremists have been maintaining links in Sri Lanka for the past few years, which he claims was made evident by the clashes that occurred in Beruwala in 2009.
*Editor’s note; This article was amended to add Dilanthe Withanage’s comment. An earlier version of this story said; “Colombo Telegraph has been unable to reach BBS CEO Dilanthe Withanage for comment.”