I believe that the general public would be interested to know whether the views expressed by Ven. Galagoda Atte Gnansara Thero of Bodu Bala Sena at a recent media address is only a personal opinion of his or he represented the views of the President and the entire government. Whatever that is, the views so expressed by the Ven Thero may have brought some relief to every member of the government.
Nevertheless, a public discussion on some of the salient points could be a timely contribution for those who seek enlightenment of public matters.
For him the investigations into the Easter Sunday Attack are carried out in a satisfactory manner by the government. Thus, the protests launched by the cardinal and the Catholic Church are quite unwarranted. He goes further and throws accusation at the Church that the protests organized by the Cardinal and the Catholic community are only meeting a demand of a foreign hand.
It was quite remarkable that the Ven. Thero appeared quite disturbed and was emotional in his expressions during the media meeting. In bringing the above accusation before the media, he clearly exposed his lack of sensitivity to the message that the Catholic community wanted to convey to the President by means of the protests.
Raising his powerful voice he reiterated but without evidence that proper investigations into the Easter attack are going on, whereas the representatives of the victim community repeatedly complained that the investigations were incomplete and they have no confidence in the way it is done on the ground that certain key issues are not taken into account in the investigations. Therefore, they during their protests persistently appealed to the President to bring the Presidential Inquiry into completion.
The firmly held view of the Catholic community is that any decision or any judgement declared that is not based on the properly completed Presidential Inquiry has no legal binding.
Ven. Ganasara Thero placed the sole blame of the Easter attack on the Muslim extremists. Undoubtedly, the involvement of the Muslim extremists in the Easter attack cannot be ignored altogether. However, there should not be any attempt to hide the fact that there has also been a major culprit (Maha Molakaru) behind the attack. Any attempt to remove him or her from the scene cannot be accepted and justified.
When the address of Ven. Ganasara Thero is taken as a whole, it appears that he has made a vain attempt to distract the general public from the actual scenario and to hide the role played by the “hidden arm” in this act of genocide.
It is well known that the Cardinal on behalf of the Catholic community played a major role in the protest campaign but he is not the only person who has the desire to identify the “hidden hand” behind the attack. The victims of the attack and everyone else who is interested in the national security of the nation are equally involved in the campaign. Indeed, who can deny the fact that hiding the real culprit is an imminent threat to national security?
Some of the contents of the address of the Ven. Monk challenge us to examine the appalling state of national politics in our country. The address contains seeds of extremism which can provoke religious disharmony among the communities.
Indeed from the very start of independent rule the parties which took over power and even the radical political parties to our dismay adopted political strategies based on racism and religious prejudices. It is this racist and religious politics which dragged Sri Lanka into a deep abyss. Over the last few decades, innocent blood has been shed on this land as a result.
Following the series of bloody conflicts in our land, the Easter Attack is perhaps the latest in history. In this current political climate it would not be the last such event either.
As regards this issue I have no difficulty in agreeing with the view that the racist clashes in 1958 and 1983, violence and killings of thousands of youth in 1971 and 1989/1990 in the Southern part of Sri Lanka and the option for war as the only solution rather than decentralization of power for North and East occurred as a result of above policies. It is an irony that even after a so called “victorious war”, a political solution is still not forthcoming.
Thousands of lives of young men and women of both communities had to be sacrificed and hundred thousand civilians were disappeared due to the ethnic war. Those precious lives could have been saved if not for the racial arrogance of some politicians.
Moreover, those who took over power in the country whipping up racial sentiments were responsible for the assassination of a number of young men, journalists, political activists, Buddhist monks and Christian priests.
It was always a small number of power hungry individuals who either to gain power or to stabilize themselves in their seats of power fuelled racial tensions in the country, causing economic and political decadence and insecurity for the majority.
Once these political gangs gain access to power they acquire also the freedom without restraints to decide over the economy of the country and its natural resources as they like. Thus, they have quickly become the wealthiest families in the country dragging the majority into a state of extreme poverty and marginalization.
According to the present scenario the current political system has formed a mechanism which allows the corrupt politicians who are influenced by racism and religious prejudices to come to power. This has given way to a very dangerous situation as manifested over the years in the recent history of our land that is soaked with the blood of innocent men and women. The most recent example of violent rule prevailing in our country is the arrogant refusal to complete the Presidential Inquiry into the Easter Attack.
Therefore enough is enough. The need of the hour is to develop a strategy which enables the public to eliminate this dominant and immoral political culture. Every citizen in the country ought to take up this responsibility that history has called them to undertake as a way of ensuring economic and political security of all people and their human dignity.