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Lawyers continue strike across North-East after assaults by Buddhist monks

Lawyers across the North-East have continued to boycott court activities to protest the ‘lack of respect’ for the judiciary shown by Sinhala Buddhist monks and Sri Lankan police, as the former directly disobeyed a court injunction and cremated a monk in the grounds of a Hindu temple with the explicit support of police, and also assaulted Tamil lawyers who had worked to secure the injunction.

See: Extremist Buddhist monk leads funeral rites in Hindu temple grounds despite court injunction

Lawyers in every district of the Northern province and some parts of the East declared a strike until Friday, pending a response from Sri Lanka’s Attorney General, from whom they seek prosecution of extremist Buddhist monk Gnanasara for remarks he had made bringing the Mullaitivu magistrate’s court into disrepute on the day of the incident.

Protest in Mullaitivu for a second day

The “defiance by Buddhist monks of the order made by the Mullaitivu Magistrate is a reminder that in Sri Lanka the authority of the Buddhist monks is far superior to that of the courts and the rule of law,” said Jaffna University’s Head of Law, K Guruparan.

The lawyers also planned to write to the National Police Commission seeking disciplinary action against the senior police officials who had failed to carry out the orders of the court.

Many of the striking lawyers from different districts travelled to Mullaitivu on Tuesday for a demonstration outside the Mullaitivu magistrate’s court. While some of the lawyers visited the site of the incident Neeraviyadi temple, they were photographed by plain-clothes personnel while police officers, including an inspector of police, watched on.