If Tamils demanded devolution then “a river of blood will flow in the North and East,” warned a group of extremist Sinhala Buddhist monks as they reacted to the release of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) manifesto.
“Devolution means secession,” said the monks, in remarks reported by Kalaikathir. “It means a separate state. A solution through devolution would divide Sri Lanka.”
“We will not allow the Tamils to find a solution through devolution. If they demand a separate state again, a river of blood will flow in the North and East.”
Amongst those who made the comments was Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, the General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), an organisation accused of racially charged hate campaigns.
“The Tamils have to willingly cooperate with the government and the Sinhalese during the Rajapaksas’ reign,” the extremist monks continued. “This is a Sinhala-Buddhist state. Therefore, we call upon the Tamils to not stray away but instead travel alongside the Sinhalese.”
They went on to state, “the Tamil people and politicians should stop functioning the way Prabhakaran did”.
Such vocal threats of violence against Tamils marks the growing clout of the Buddhist nationalist organisations in Sri Lanka and draws attention to the impunity under which they operate. Several instances of hate speech have been recorded as general elections, scheduled for next month, draw closer
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is particularly notorious. The International Crisis Group reported in 2013 that the attacks BBS carried out against Muslims energised Islamic fundamentalism in the country.