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Former Sri Lankan minister warns ‘not to test patience of Buddhists’

Sri Lanka’s former Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekera reportedly warned the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) “not to test the patience of Buddhists” earlier today, in a chilling address in Sri Lanka’s parliament.

Weerasekera that the TNA was “making defamatory statements towards Buddhist monks and Buddhist teachings,” according to the Colombo Gazette. Adding that the Buddhist community “did not harm ordinary Tamils,” he did however warn “there is a limit to the patience of Sinhalese Buddhists”.

The minister has a record of ultranationalism having previously argued that NGOs and civil society activists should be charged with treason and sentenced to death for their criticism of Sri Lanka.

He had also called for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to be banned and rallied against the Sri Lankan national anthem being sung in Tamil. In January last year, Weerasekera attacked Tamil protesters in Jaffna claiming that they had no right to remember “dead terrorists”.

Despite his racist remarks, Weerasekera received the highest number of preferential votes in the Colombo district in 2020’s parliamentary election, and went on to represent the Sri Lankan capital in parliament.

His warning echoes that made of other racists in recent years, including Buddhist monks who in 2020 threatened, “A river of blood will flow in the North and East” if Tamils demanded devolution.

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