Secretary to the President Austin Fernando quashed rumors regarding President Maithripala Sirisena having taken Galagoda Atte Gnanasara, General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) with him to Japan, insisting that the only Buddhist monk in the delegation was Ulapane Sumangala.
Fernando, responding to a question from Colombo Telegraph, stated that he cannot remember the names of the entire delegation but assured that there was only a single monk accompanying the President.
“I know that Rev Sumangala is in the delegation because I furnished the letter required for the Thero to obtain leave from his duties as the principal of a school,’ Fernando said.
Buddhist Monk Ulapane Sumangala, however, is a close associate of BBS’ Gnanasara, having helped him obtain bail and addressing the media immediately afterwards.
The alleged presence of Gnanasara in the President’s delegation gave credence to the speculation that sections of the Government were involved in the anti-Muslim violence in Theldeniya, Digana and elsewhere in the Kandy District.
Gnanasara attended the funeral of the Sinhala man who succumbed to injuries sustained when he was attacked by a group of Muslim men two weeks ago.
Gnanasara told the media that he was due to visit Singapore but had postponed the trip because he wanted to help bring things back to normal.
Although the government moved to block social media platforms on the grounds that there were racist elements spreading misinformation and inciting violence, there is suspicion that sections of the Government aided and abetted those who were plotting violence.
For example, Colombo Telegraph possess video evidence of government security personnel standing by and being amused when a perpetrator of violence was being verbally abusive to one of the victims.
The Government, moreover, was slow in responding to the tense situation in the said areas and orchestrated a virtual blackout of news related to the violence.