The Sunday Leader

Double Blow For Radical Monks

by Easwaran Rutnam

A group of radical monks faced a double blow last week just hours after the venerable Akmeemana Dayarathana Thera was arrested for threatening Rohingya refugees in Mount Lavinia.

Following several complaints filed with Facebook over a video posted on the Facebook page of the Sinhale Jathika Balamuluwa, the social media website decided to act on it last week.

The video was a live recording of a mob, led by monks, storming a safe house in Mount Lavinia recently where refugees from Myanmar were being kept.

The monks threatened the refugees and hurled abuse at them, including some women carrying children.

Following complaints to Facebook requesting that the video be removed, Facebook last week removed the video.

“Since it violated our Community Standards, we removed it….We let Sinhale Jathika Balamuluwa – Officlal know that their video has been removed,” Facebook said.

Last week the venerable Akmeemana Dayarathana Thera was arrested by the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) over the incident involving Rohingya refugees.

The Police said that the monk was arrested after being questioned by the CCD.

The monk was produced in court and remanded till October 9.

Recently monks from the Sinhale Jathika Balamuluwa led a mob and surrounded a house in Mount Lavinia where the Rohingya refugees were staying.

The monks, including the venerable Akmeemana Dayarathana Thera then entered the house with the Police and live streamed the Police taking the refugees out.

Some monks were heard threatening the refugees telling them to go back to Myanmar and also accusing the Police of eating from the hands of the Muslim refugees and protecting them.

The refugees were taken from the house and placed under protective custody at the Mount Lavinia Police station and from there they were taken to Boosa.

The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission had last week called for an urgent meeting with several Ministries to discuss the incident. The Cultural Ministry, Justice Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and the Ministry of Law and Order were among the institutions summoned for the meeting.

The Police Department, Prisons Department and the local representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had also been called for the meeting. Chairperson of the Commission Deepika Udagama told The Sunday Leader that the Human Rights Commission will compile a report on the incident and submit it to the government. The government had slammed the actions of the monks and the Police over the incident.

Cabinet spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had said that the behavior of the monks was unacceptable. Senaratne said the monks behaved in a manner which disrespected Buddhism.

He also questioned the Police for allowing the monks to threaten the refugees while Police officers looked on.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera also condemned the incident saying the monks were a group of ‘thugs in robes’ and urged the Police to take the strongest possible action against the perpetrators. “In fact I condemn these actions not only as the Minister in charge of Media. I am also condemning it as a Buddhist, a Buddhist who is very proud of the fact that Buddhism is a religion of non-violence and compassion,” he said. The Minister said the refugees were rescued at sea by the Sri Lanka Navy in April this year, and were under the care of the UNHCR, waiting to be resettled elsewhere in a third country, the United States or Canada.

“It is a shameful act and every right-minded citizen of this country especially Buddhists must condemn this action by this so-called priests and I also urge the Police to take the strongest possible action against the perpetrators of these crimes against these innocent refugees,” he said.

19 Comments for “Double Blow For Radical Monks”

  1. These are misguided monks in robes,they are blindly following the instructionsgiven by there leaders. they have got to be told that wearing the robes is a previlage,and not a right,if they break the law they should be proscecuted and derobed and given the harshest sentence, that will send a message to the other monks.

  2. Majority of the Buddhist monks in this country appear to be forgotten the very reason as to why THEY HAVE LEFT THE ” GIHI GEYA” AND BECAME THE MONKS” !.
    That is why they are being engaged in various unruly /unacceptable activities at present! At the rate things are happening, it is crystal clear that those so called guardians are the sole culprits who are responsible for the downfall of the Buddha Sassanaya of this country. This is a very unfortunate situation indeed.

    • Robert

      When they follow lord Buddha’s principal they are called venerable monks. When they lead a mob they are called MONKEYS.

      Now You decide which kind of person in saffron robes in front of you.

  3. Richard

    Why do you keep on calling these ‘criminals in robes’ (since a crime has been committed by them and now remanded) as ‘VENERABLE’?? They accuse the police from eating out of the hands of the refugees, yet these monks forget they eat every meal ‘FREE’ and now have enough time to ‘bark’ in public. ‘NEW’ CONSTITUTION MUST PREVENT MONKS ENGAGING IN POLITICS, BUSINESS, ETC AND ONLY LIMIT THEIR ACTION (SERVICE) TO TEMPLES, IF THEY ARE GOING TO SERVE BUDDHISM HONESTLY.

  4. Sangaralingham

    It you are monk and a radical remove your robe dress usually stop going around alms go for relearning in good social manners and help in shelters camps and relearn yourself. Love and harmony is vital if you are a Buddhist .it is important you should understand basic Buddhism.

  5. Kevin

    Lakhs of Sri Lankans have gone as hora or boru ‘refugees’ by boat to Italy and Australia. They still try to go as refugees though there are no problems in the country. Yet, we shamelessly object to other, genuine refugees coming here. We are a nation of hypocrites.

    • Robert

      Have ever travelled in the kind of they travelled? Some of them drowned in the sea as well. Do you think they wanted to die? Keveno ! are you joking or mad?

  6. ranjit demel

    i apreciate that action has been taken .i hold ,.the sinhale corrupt political crimminells,,responsible for the present situationin in s.l..we have a puppet humbug as president,,a liar corrupt p.m.allmost all sinhale politicans in this yahapalan government and in the former government are rougs .as long as you rougs are in politics nothing would hell with all sinhale politicians

  7. P.Sooriaperuma

    I applaud Mr . Mangala Samaraweera’s statements and condemnation in respect of the shameful incident. Most of these monks join the priesthood in order to escape poverty and deprivation and hail from broken homes. They are a disgrace to their religion and their country. The police are corrupt ,untrained and unprofessional. Disciplinary proceedings should be brought against the officers who failed to perform their duties without fear or favour.

  8. Was not this person punished by courts over a case of sexually assaulting boys. If that is so, how come he still wear the garb of Buddhist Priest? When will he be disrobed. He is an insult to this holy religion

  9. banda

    Why the government failed to inform and make aware to the nearest police about the number of refugees detained in the particular safe house and they are under the supervision of Immigration authorities. Had the police were duly informed all the police officers would have known about the correct position/status of the refugees. All these problems crop up due to the failure of the government/ officers to act transparently . However, ultimately this matter became an unnecessary incident to all persons concerned is my firm opinion.

  10. Andrew

    We are lucky that Buddism is not a major religion in the world stage, such as Christianity and Muslim faith. Otherwise we can see how these Buddhists will act on world stage, discriminating other religions and imposing their rules on others.
    Sadly Buddhists do not have much knowledge what is going on the world outside Sri Lanka. Refugees were the biggest news in 2017 around the world. If you follow news you see how the other countries were dealing with this crisis, specially in Europe.

  11. Dharma Ruwan

    These monks are the vanguard of society against false values, bankrupt politics and corrupt politicians. They are also the last bastion of defence of Theravada that is not found anywhere except in Sri Lanka & Thailand so are defending valid moral, social and political justice in the absence of such defence from the police & politicians that are paid for providing these.

    The Rohingya exodus started with the import of Bangladeshi labourers into Myanmar by the British, just as they did in Sri Lanka. These imported labour then attacked the police & an army base and their own villagers who then fled. The one place they belong are therefore Bangladesh.

    It is important that we salute people who are brave in the fight whilst most of the keyboard warriors themselves have sought political asylum overseas and gained citizenship by falsely blaming their motherland.

  12. Aku

    “Venerable” Akmeemana Dayarathana Thera??? You call his actions as Venerable??? This must be a mistake, guess he must be a venereal thero….

  13. it is shameful for monks. the buhhist monks are not involved in politics, why politicians are going after monks,most of monks are criminal. buhhist not a religion please do not fool the public now people are educated, it is philosophy . way of honorable live . study about buhhism

  14. Kumaran

    These monks should be given the treatment that the late Prime Minister, Gen. Sir John Kotelawala gave one “monk” who was speaking at a political event in Kandy in 1956, just before that famous election that changed the entire nation: Sir John got off his Cadillac, ran up the steps of the stage, grabbed the “monks” and gave him a thundering slap after which he kicked him off the stage. He, and a few of his robed buddies ran like never before. I was a student of 16 years then.

    I say that the 1956 election when the THEN UNP was defeated that brought in the curse of the Bandaranayakes, who did NOTHING for this nation but only set alight ethnic tensions yet burning and the curse of nationalization.

    Am I wrong?

  15. Sangaralingham

    Monks supposed to spread peace and harmony. Are they using their shaven heads at least some of the to seek sympathy but st the same time beleive in hatred violence annoying other the rest of honest sympathetic Buddhists which also include many nonbuddhists violating the basic rules of Buddhism. I begin to suspect these fraction of monks with their irresponsible dome citizen probably with dome politicians responsible for violence against minority Tamils 2956 2983 and other times. Wonder how many arrested send to prison at those times if not justice failed to all those suffered

  16. Is he not the man who was punished for sodomising boys.Let us sodomise him

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