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Blood on Bodu Bala robe

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Today the Bodu Bala Sena
stands in the dock indicted with the heinous charge of attempting to return this nation
to the blood-soaked barbaric age of violence from which it had risen so recently. It
stands accused of repeated anti-Muslim attacks that have now resulted in inevitable
bloodshed and death; and it stands condemned for outraging the religious sensitivities
of the Buddhists by presenting to the worlds reproach and contempt! its distorted!
savage and warped version as the sworn practical translation of the Buddhas noble
doctrine of "himsa.
anguish and pain of the harrowing thirty-year-old racial war which wracked the nation
apart and left thousands of her citi$ens dead! still bleeding fresh in the nation
traumatised memory! the reprehensible actions of the Bodu Bala in "luthgama last
Sunday night once more brought %anka closer to the perilous precipice to shiver
precariously on its brink! facing the abysmal vista of another possible conflagration to
engulf the nation in religious flames.
&ardly three days after thousands of %ankan Buddhists had commemorated the arrival
of Buddhism to %anka '(() years ago and spent the day in the practice of Buddhist
ethics! meditating upon the sublime states of loving kindness to all and tolerance
toward all faiths and creeds! a small group of rebel monks launched another serial
attack on Muslims and showed the world the other side of *osons midnight moon.
%ets cut the euphemisms and do away with the niceties adopted to spare the shame.
A soldier patrolling the streets of Aluthgama after it came under mob violence. Pic by ndi!a "andu#ela
%ets brave the truth and face reality. %ets accept the fact that these were not men in
robes! as renegade monks are sometimes referred to and their actions dismissed
summarily as having little or no conse+uences. These were ordained monks of the
'(,, year old Buddha Sasana! card carrying members of the established nikayas!
registered with the -overnment as Buddhist monks. .raped in the sacred saffron robe
of the Buddha they were the official members of the /oble 0rder of Buddhist monks.
"s the formal authorised representatives of the Buddha Sasana! their speech and
conduct reflect upon Buddhisms value. -enerally! when monks step out of line with
the 1inaya 2ode they face disciplinary action by the appropriate 2ouncil of the Sasana
but in this case no such action has even been mooted by any Temple 3lder.
These lapses have no doubt contributed in no small a measure to the rise of these
perverse bands of rebel monks! the foremost of which is the Bodu Bala Sena! for
which body this was merely one more incident in its long litany of religious attacks
against the Muslims. &aving savoured success without restraint at every turn! it was
only to be e4pected that they would sooner or later go over the top.
"nd indeed they did. 5or the first time in the nations two thousand five hundred year
old history! a group of Buddhist monks actively played a participatory role in a racial
attack on a minority group which resulted in the murder of three Muslims and grievous
bodily harm to nearly eighty others. "ccording to the *olice! out of the suspects
arrested over the incident! two were monks who were armed and drunk.
&ate speech
5louting every rule in the Buddhist canon! casting this cardinal! unpardonable insult to
the religion they profess to follow! violating the hallowed tenets of the Buddha! in
whose sacrosanct name they commit every ghoulish villainy! the Bodu Bala Sena has
sprouted from unknown origins to spread the wild seeds of religious disharmony
unchecked. They have openly preached and blatantly practised violence as a means
of achieving their mysterious ends. But! as last Sundays attacks in "luthgama and
Beruwela vividly demonstrated! this time they had gone over the edge! and placed
themselves beyond the pale of redemption.
But are they worried6 /o. "s the Bodu Bala chief -alagoda-atte -nanasara proudly
declared at the "luthgama meeting as if it was the best epithet he could receive!
7Spineless ministers and others say we are racists! they say we are religious bigots.
8es! we are racists. 8es! we are religious bigots.9
Inciting the crowds with vicious language and rhetoric of Sinhala supremacy in %anka
and declaring the undisputable right of the ma:ority race to inflict violence on any
minority grouping who dared to out step the allowed bounds of their limited tolerance!
the head of this rabid renegade brigand of fanatical monks! the saffron robed
-alagoda -nanasara arrogantly proclaimed in his inflammatory speech to a crowd
clapping his every word; 7If we do not unite and determine today to do our duty! our
still unborn generations will! at a future date! curse us to be struck down by lightning.
#ithout being sub:ect to that curse! look at our ancestors! our forefathers and what
they did. They sacrificed their blood! tears! sweat and their lives! donated their eyes!
their flesh! their blood to safeguard this age old heritage on behalf of us. Today! evil
sinful forces have emerged from all four directions to plunder this heritage.9
#e tell everyone!9 -nanasara warned! raising his hand defiantly! 7This country still
has a Sinhala police. Still has a Sinhala army. "fter today! if one Sinhalese is even
touched! let alone a robe! if one Sinhalese is even touched by any Muslim or anyone
else that will be the end of them all.9
The mob violence began soon after.
But Sundays violent clima4 was only to be e4pected. #hen the seeds of hate have
been allowed to be sown to the winds of pseudo patriotism! what surprise is there
when the whirlwind boomerangs to be reaped6 5ounded only two years ago in <uly
',='! the Bodu Bala Senas rise to notoriety has been mysteriously meteoric. .uring
this brief period they have emerged as the sacred bulls of %anka! allowed to wander
and preach their gospel of hate and violence wherever they wished! untethered and
given free rein of the rope to head butt and kick their way into any organisation they
chose! granted immunity to attack and set fire to any Muslim business premises they
focused their sights on; and regurgitate their unfettered violent e4ploits ad nauseam to
further flaunt their untouchable status! and present themselves as the e4alted saviours
of Buddhism in %anka.
They have arrogated to themselves the right to do as they wish to appoint themselves
as the nations moral police! to anoint themselves as Buddhisms guardians and even
to damn themselves as the devils angels to wage holy war with the Muslims of %anka.
3ven the name of this rabid organisation Bodu Bala Sena which means Buddhas
*ower 5orce is a perverse misnomer and a grievous insult but no power has seen the
need to deplore this profanity committed on the hallowed name of -autama the
The law enforcing authorities who deemed it fit to remand and deport a British nurse! a
practising Buddhist! for innocently having an image of the Buddha tattooed on her right
arm in an act of pious devotion! on the grounds of sacrilege! have had no +ualms
about remaining inert when they witness blood spilt on the roads of the land and fear
inflicted in the hearts of society by a group of monks e4ploiting the reverence accorded
to the robe and waving Buddhism as their flag of immunity. If that is not sacrilegious!
then what is6
"s you read these words now! spare a thought on the grief and heartbreak the wives
and small children of the three Muslim men killed near a mos+ue in "luthgama must
be suffering today. #as there any cause worthy enough to have killed them6 #hat
advance has been made by their deaths6 #hat reason has :ustified their wanton
deaths or what purpose has been served e4cept to sate the macabre blood lust of a
few megalomaniacs6 &as Buddhism become a stronger religion and more protected
because of it6 "sk yourself; is this the Buddhism the Buddha preached6 .oes the real
threat to Buddhism come from without or from within6
The Bodu Bala Senas sudden rise to the summit of immunity has indeed been
phenomenal. &ardly known outside their own temples! -nanasara and his renegade
clan have become more bloated with arrogance with every boastful assault on the
nations social and religious fabric. Meeting no opposition to thwart its ascent but a
police guard to smooth its path! the litany of its villainy progressed to clima4 on
Sunday night on the streets of .harga Town in "luthgama.
.uring these last two years! emboldened by not meeting any challenge to their
attacks! they began to believe in their own professed infallibility and that .ivine
*rovidence blessed their mission and provided their talisman of protection to wage the
holy war with impunity and dared the authorities to stop them if they could. In the face
of this direct challenge to law and order and to the visible threat to peace and
communal harmony the -overnment! the *olice! the Mahanayakes! the due process
and the laws of the land fell ominously silent.
But! for this apathy displayed towards repeated Bodu Bala attacks on the Muslim
populace! there will be a price to pay. If the Bodu Bala and similar radical groupings
are not checked and dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land! %anka will face
an almost insurmountable crisis and no amount of parliamentary resolutions passed
will suffice to turn the tide of international opinion already fast moving against the
The Bodu Bala claim that they are fighting Muslim e4tremists but that cannot :ustify
their actions! for if there are indeed Muslim e4tremists operating in %anka! as there
well maybe! then it is a matter for the -overnment to tackle! not for a bunch of
vigilantes in robes to take the law unto their own hands and wreak havoc on the land.
Soon the >nited /ations war crime probe will begin its in+uiry. Though /avi *illay will
be retiring this month much to %ankas relief! it cannot bring great comfort to know that
the new person to occupy the post of the &uman ?ights 2ommissioner will be a
Muslim from <ordan. 2an %anka e4pect greater understanding from him when Muslims
are sub:ected to religious attacks in %anka and nothing is being done to prevent it6
#ith the -overnment standing firm on its decision not to cooperate with the >/ war
crimes probe! its present plan of action to thwart this violation of national sovereignty
has been! in the main! to convince individual governments it is still friendly with that
such a radical step by the >/ is not called for since the government is taking
meaningful steps to further e4pedite the process of reconciliation with the Tamil
minority and address their grievances. 2an the -overnment keep a straight face and
try to persuade foreign governments to believe in their sincerity! when groups of
fanatical Sinhalese are allowed carte blanche to launch attacks against another
minority! this time the Muslims! and create new grievances! without any action being
taken against the perpetrators6
0n Monday in Bolivia after he was awarded the medal of honour for peace and
democracy! the highest honour presented by the *lurinational State of Bolivia! by the
Bolivian -overnment! *resident Mahinda ?a:apaksa told Bolivian *resident 3vo
Morales that establishing relationships with new nations is a part of the -overnments
policy. The 5oreign 0ffice should ensure that it is also part of -overnment policy to
retain the friendly relationship it has already established! especially those strong ties
long forged with the "rab and Muslim nations! not forgetting Muslim *akistan! which
championed %ankas brief robustly at the -eneva &uman ?ights 2ouncil in March this
It will not contribute to the continuance of such friendly relationships with those Muslim
states if the Muslims of %anka are seen to have been reduced to the status of sitting
ducks for any passing diehard Sinhala racist to take pot shots at without fearing any
reprisals. It should not be forgotten that these are the nations that supply %anka the oil
it needs for its very e4istence and that they are also the main employers of %ankas
Middle 3astern labour force which contribute @ billion dollars to %ankas coffers every
year. #ithout the oil and without the money this country would be brought to a halt.
5or all the repulsive! arrogant and boastful bragging by the Bodu Bala chief
-nanasara that this country has still a Sinhala police and Sinhala army and that if one
Sinhalese is even touched by a Muslim then that will be the end of all Muslims! the
reality is that if the Sinhalese touch even one Muslim in the future and the Muslim
nations place an embargo on oil to %anka and slap a ban on employing housemaids
from %anka! then it will be the end of the Sinhalese.
%anka has enough and more problems than it can chew. If it does not act now and
take the necessary measures to prevent a repeat of Black Sunday! then it would
appear that this nation has lost its marbles and is in search of new troubles and new
enemies. The perpetrators should be dealt with under the normal criminal laws of the
land and all citi$ens of %anka must be assured that the first duty of any government
which is to maintain law and order is being effectively discharged.
Today the Bodu Bala has blood on its robes and evil sin on its conscience. Missing still
are the manacles on its hands.
The definition of unlawful assembly is stated in Section 138 in the Penal
Code as an assembly of five or more persons if the common object of the
persons comprising that assembly is, amongst other objects, to commit
mischief or criminal mischief or other offence
Section 1!3 states that wherever force or violence is used by an unlawful
assembly every member of such assembly is guilty of the offence of rioting
"t is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the others should have
committed any physical act apart from joining or remaining in the unlawful
Section 1#$ states that %whoever maliciously or wantonly by doing anything
which is illegal, gives provocation to any persons intending or &nowing it to
be li&ely that such provocation will cause the offence of rioting to be
committed, shall, if the offence of rioting be committed in conse'uences of
such provocation, be punished with imprisonment