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Lyca charity celebrates Vesak in Batticaloa, with a helping hand

The philanthropic arm of telecoms giant Lyca celebrated the Buddhist festival of Vesak in Batticaloa last week, with extremist Buddhist monk Ampitiye Sumanarathana seen distributing ice creams for the charity.

Gnanam, the charity wing of Tamil-owned Lyca, opened the stall to celebrate the Buddhist festival,  where food is shared throughout the day. The festival comes just weeks after Tamils were arrested for distributing Mullivaikkal kanji, a rice porridge that is usually distributed to commemorate Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day.

Sri Lankan officials however were seen partaking in festivities, alongside racist Buddhist monk Ampitiye Sumanarathana The monk, notorious for his racist outbursts and assaults, was seen speaking to Gnanam officials and helping distribute free food to residents in the area.

Sumanarathana is known for his anti-Tamil and anti-Muslim remarks.

Last year, he threatened that "every single Tamil person will be cut into pieces!" in an outburst that was caught on camera. "They will all be killed! All the Tamils in the south will be cut into pieces and butchered! The Sinhalese will massacre them."

In 2016, the monk threatened to kill a Tamil government official in Batticaloa, subjecting him to verbal slander when he described him as a “Tamil dog” and a “bloody tiger”, while a Sri Lankan police officer watched. Tamils pursued a demonstration in Batticaloa calling for his arrest.

Lyca, meanwhile, has continued to pursue several business interests on the island.

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