Making it further clear that Athuraliye Rathana thera’s protest fast and subsequent actions are all part of a political drama staged by Sirisena, Presidential Media Division announced a short while ago that Governors M L A M Hizbullah and Azath Salley have resigned from their positions.
Although the handing in of resignations appears as if Rathana thera’s protest fast scored resulting in one of his demands to be realized, a closer look at the Constitution reveals this is part of a carefully thought out play staged by Sirisena to help him score brownie points among voters.
Constitutional provisions grant power to the President to appoint a Governor but does not authorize sacking one. If an ousting of the Governor is to happen, the President requires the backing of a ⅔ majority in the Provincial Council.
Term of Eastern Provincial Council ended on September 30, 2018 and term of Western Provincial Council ended on April 21, 2019, rendering it impossible for Sirisena to stage an ousting of the Governors.
Hence, before the growing unpopularity of the trio Bathiudeen, Hizbullah and Salley, it is clear that Rathana thera’s protest before the Kandy Temple of the Tooth is a cooked up political drama to help Sirisena achieve his political goals.
It should also be noted that both Hizbullah and Salley in recent weeks have publicly called for the Presidential pardon and release of BBS Galagoda Atte Gnanasara, who yesterday joined Rathana thera at the protest fast site and said, despite their ideological differences, he has united with Rathana thera in the face of the ‘Muslim issue’.
Meanwhile, these short sighted, power hungry moves of Sirisena might end up costing innocent civilians dearly, as anti-Muslim narratives appear to grow stronger. All shops in Kandy remain closed today in an expression of solidarity with Rathana thero’s protest and BBS Gnanasara is marching to Colombo with his goons, demanding the President and government immediately act on Rathana thera’s demands.
It was also reported that three individuals who were at the site of Rathana thero’s protest fast, who were unable to confirm their identity and were later revealed to be Muslims, were attacked by a mob while the military attempted to remove them from the location.