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Tear gas and water canons turned on Bhikku procession


Was such a demonstration necessary?
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There are hundreds of Tamils being held without inquiry or trial for months under the public security laws of the country. If this has been deemed necessary in the interests of the security in the country, Bhikkus who have become highly politicized cannot expect to be treated as beyond such regulations. The recent anti-Christian rally held led by the Buddhist clergy was most unfortunate.
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by Victor Karunairajan with files from Colombo

(June 27, Toronto –Colombo , Sri Lanka Guardian) A demonstration demanding the re-opening of the Buddhasrawaka University in Anuradhapura that was closed down by the government came to grief near the President’s House when it was attacked by the police at Kollupitiya. The demonstration in protest had commenced from the Viharamahadevi Park and was winding its way towards the President’s House when it was met with tear gas and water cannons.

The demonstrators would have known anything of this nature was prohibited in the vicinity of the official residence of the country’s Head of State for purely security reasons and the Buddhist clergy should be sensitive to these concerns.

Organized by the Inter University Bhikku Front (IUBF) to bring to the notice of the government and the country several difficulties Bhikkus face in the various universities, the police attack took the demonstrators by complete surprise. Among their demands, apart from reopening the Buddhasrawaka University, are the release of undergraduate Bhikkus of the university who have been detained for 25 days, establishing a Buddhist Institute for Colombo University and taking action against what they have stated as corrupt officials of the Buddhist and Pali University.

A demonstrating Bhikku told “Lankatruth” (Online news web site in Sri Lanka) that when President Mahinda Rajapakse assumed office as the President of Sri Lanka, he had promised to safeguard democracy but now has descended to the levels of intolerance unacceptable in a democratic state by savagely attacking a peaceful demonstration that was asking for their just rights.

Observers are, however, of the view that such demonstrations, especially from the Buddhist clergy has to be viewed in the context of security fears in the country and the terror attacks that have become common place. The IUBF could have held a public rally but marching towards the official residence of the country’s president and especially related to a religious issue which is increasingly becoming contentious in the country, will not ally the fears of Hindus, Muslims and Christians in Sri Lanka who feel Pan Buddhist sentiments are being seeded further into the community.

There are hundreds of Tamils being held without inquiry or trial for months under the public security laws of the country. If this has been deemed necessary in the interests of the security in the country, Bhikkus who have become highly politicized cannot expect to be treated as beyond such regulations. The recent anti-Christian rally held led by the Buddhist clergy was most unfortunate.

The demands of the IUBF did not require a demonstration of this nature. The demonstration gives the impression that the IUBF simply seized an opportunity to further heighten religious tensions in the country when the very opposite should be happening to seek solutions.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

2 comments

T.Douglas said...

THE DEMONSTRATION BY THE BUDDHIST CLERGY IN COLOMBO IS VERY UNFORTUNATE AND DEPLORABLE. THE BHIKKUS SHOULD CONFINE THEMSELVES INSIDE THEIR TEMPLES.

THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE SRI LANKAN SECURITY FORCES AGAINST THESE BHIKKUS TO MAINTAIN PEACE ARE COMMENDABLE.

THE BUDDHIST CLERGY ARE FULLY RESONSIBLE FOR THE PRESENT ETHNIC UNREST IN SRI LANKA.

Karuna said...

WHAT THE BHIKKUS DID WAS A DEPLORABLE ACT. A TRUE BHIKKU, WHO BELONGS TO THE TRIPLE GEM WOULD NEVER GET INVOLVED IN POLITICS. THUS THESE SO CALLED 'BHIKKUS' DO NOT BELONG TO GAUTAMA BUDDHAS DISPENSATION. TODAY THE DHAMMA IS OUR TEACHER. IF WE ARE TO COMPARE THEIR ACT TO THE DOCTRINE OF CAUSE AND EFECT, THEY HAVE REAPED THE RESULTS OF THEIR ACT. A LOT MORE AWAITS THEM IN THEIR SAMSARIC JOURNEY THAT WE ALL TREAD. AGAIN I MAY BE WRONG IN MY VIEWS PLEASE CORRECT ME IF SO.

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