UNP Senior Parliamentarian and Buddha Sasana Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera had confirmed to the Mahanayakes that he would discuss with President Maithripala Sirisena on seeking a Presidential pardon for the convicted Buddhist monk Galagoda Atte Gnanasara.
Perera said he had received letters from Ramanna Nikaya, Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kotte Sri Kalayani Samagi Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha, Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siam Nikaya, and the Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter of the Siam Nikaya for the release of the controversial monk.
Gnanasara, the General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena organization is convicted of contempt of court, as he threatened missing person Prageeth Ekneligoda‘s wife, Sandhya Ekneligoda, within the Homagama Magistrate’s Court premises. He is also facing several other court cases on different charges.
It is widely believed that Sirisena will grant Ganasara Presidential pardon on February 04. Jayawickrama Perera told the media he would discuss the possibility of the monk’s release after the President’s return from Singapore.
Jayawickrama Perera is the UNP MP to openly support the release of the Buddhist monk who is directly involved in instigating communal violence in Sri Lanka which has destroyed the lives of properties of many Muslims in several parts of the country.
“Jayawickrama Perera’s explicit support for Ganansara Thera is alarming. Although President Sirisena wants to release Ganansara Thera, he treads carefully on the matter as he is worried about the reaction of minorities. Jayawickrama Perera’s erratic behaviour gives Sirisena the opportunity to state that even the UNP supported Ganasara Thera’s release. It positions the UNP in a negative light from the standpoint of minorities,” a senior UNP Parliamentarian explained.
SLFP National Organizer Duminda Dissanayake has already requested President Sirisena to release Gnanasara. Dissanayake told the media last week he was confident that the President would release Gnnasara on February 04.
Sirisena has also held a round of discussions with BBS Buddhist monks on Ganansara’s release. The President has reportedly promised them that Gnasara Thera will be granted Presidential pardon “after receiving legal advice.”