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Accept a Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka or leave, says chief prelate of Kotte Chapter

People that fail to accept Sri Lanka as a Sinhala Buddhist country should not remain in the country, claimed the Mahanayaka (Chief Prelate) of the Kotte Chapter, one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent Buddhist chapters.

In a discussion with MP Dinesh Gunawardena about the upcoming Buddhist celebrations of Vesakh, the senior monk, Dhammalankara, said, “according to the history that I know of, no Buddhist or non- Buddhist has ever said Sri Lanka is not a Sinhala Buddhist country. Even Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith who is not a Buddhist has said this is a Sinhala Buddhist country and that he is fortunate to live here."

"In this backdrop if anyone says that Sri Lanka is not a country of Sinhala Buddhists, such persons are not fit for the country.”

Ranil Wickremesinghe pays tribute to Dhammalankara. January 2019

Drawing attention to remarks by the much criticised Cardinal Ranjith, Dhammalankara added, "Cardinal Ranjith has said Catholic and Christian priests are respected more in Sri Lanka which is a Buddhist country than in the so called Catholic countries. It is only in Sri Lanka you get seats reserved in buses and trains especially allocated to the clergy. You enjoy all these benefits because of Buddhist values."

"The Cardinal has also said that a person could become the President and Prime Minister of this country, no matter what religious or ethnic group one belongs to," he said quoting Cardinal Ranjith. 

"However such a person should respect Buddhism," he said.

The monk further expressed support for the United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian and former chief of army Sarath Fonseka to be enlisted as defence secretary.

This year the Buddhist Vesak celebrations will coincide with commemorations of the Mullivaikkal genocide marked on May 18 by Tamils in the North-East and around the world.