High ranking Sinhala Buddhist monks from across the world have criticised the United National Party for endangering "national security", over an election poster in Jaffna which features one of their candidates alongside a map of Tamil Eelam.
Speaking at a press conference in Narahenpita in the South of the island, Buddhist monks from the US, Singapore, Australia and India slammed the UNP for allowing the poster to be distributed.
The Mahanayake of Singapore and Chief Incumbent of the Bellanwila Rajamaha Vihara in Colombo Dhammarathana Nayaka slammed the incident as a "a serious threat to national security”.
“The reconciliation process that was moving forward smoothly in the aftermath of defeat of the LTTE,” claimed the monk. “It is the duty of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to explain to the nation what really is happening and what his party’s position on the issue is,” he said.
"There was security in the country before January 8th,” he said, after former president Mahinda Rajapaksa was ousted and Maithripala Sirisena came to power. “Today the country is unstable."
The Mahanayake of the US and Chief Incumbent of the Dhammavijaya Vihara in Los Angeles Aggmahapanditha Walpola Piyananda Nayaka agreed with his fellow monks, saying, the “majority of Lankan Sangha community living abroad are worried about the situation at home in the post January 8th period”.
“We know that there are many NGOs working overtime to destabilise the country,” he added. “Sadly, the incumbent government is taking no action against them,” the monk lamented, saying “this unfortunate situation would not have arisen had there been a stronger president and stronger government in power”.
Their remarks come after UNP candidate in Jaffna Vijayakala Maheswaran released posters depicting her image alongside a map of Tamil Eelam.
See more in our earlier post: UNP candidate vies for Tamil votes in Jaffna (12 Aug 2015)
The monks meanwhile, went on to urge people to vote against “separatist forces” adding the “TNA’s call for federalism (has) disturbed the people who want the country to remain undivided”.
"It is so unfortunate that some of our youth are misled by social media campaigns,” said the monk and Chairperson of the International Students Council of the Delhi University Mamadawila Shantha. “They have a chance to correct the mistake they made on January 8th by voting against separatist forces on Aug 17."