Monk Ignores Mahanayake’s Ruling
By Nirmala Kannangara
The former Chief Incumbent of the Mihintala Rajamaha Viharaya has come under severe criticism for his refusal to hand over his office to his deputy.
The Chief Incumbent Ven. Namalwewe Ratanasara was removed from the Chief Incumbent (CI) post on March 9, by the Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Thero following his arrest for alleged child molestation.
Ratanasara Thero was arrested in August last year by the Mihintale Police and was placed in remand custody by the Magistrate Anuradhapura.
However Ratanasara Thero’s failure to hand over the CI post to Ven. Walawahangunawewe Dhammarathana Thero has led the Mahanayake Thero to suspend him (Ratanasara Thero) from all offices held by him.
By letter dated March 16 to Ven. Ratanasara, the Mahanayake Thero had removed him from all offices held by him since his failure to abide by the Sangha ruling.
The letter states, “On the decision of the Maha Sangha, you were removed temporarily on March 9, till you get your name cleared. However knowing that this was a decision taken by the executive committee of the Maha Sangha, you still organized a protest campaign against the decision at the Malwatu Viharaya with laymen on March 11. You were also accused of holding a fast unto death at the Mihintale town the following day which is strictly against the monk hood. Considering all these facts the executive committee of the Maha Sangha unanimously decided to remove you from all offices you held with immediate effect”.
The newly appointed CI Ven. Walawahangunawewe Dhammarathana Thero did not want to make any comment but said that he will discharge his duties as the CI if the opportunity is given. “I was appointed the CI on March 9 but am still waiting to discharge my duties in the post,” Dhammarathana Thero told The Sunday Leader.
The sacked CI monk was not available for comment. Meanwhile Anunayaka Thero of the Malwatte Chapter Ven. Niyangoda Wijithasisri when contacted told The Sunday Leader that there is nothing the Malwatte Chapter can do against the former CI for his refusal to handover the post to his deputy.
“It is now up to the Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs to take the necessary steps. The Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter has taken the right decision to expel this monk who was accused of child molestation. This is a good eye opener to all monks and necessary steps will be taken against monks who do not follow the Buddha’s Teaching,” the Thero added.
Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs, Chandraprema Gamage meanwhile told The Sunday Leader that neither he nor the Department of Buddhist Affairs has any power to prevent Ratanasara Thero from discharging the duties of the CI.
“It is up to the new CI Ven. Walawahangunawewe Dhammarathana Thero to seek legal action to stop the former CI from functioning. The necessary letters have been sent to the respective parties but if the former CI does not abide by that what can I do. I do not have any powers in this regard,” said Gamage.