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More threats from Sinhala Buddhist monk as hartal underway

A Sinhala Buddhist monk has called on the Sri Lankan president and military to investigate the hartal that is currently underway across the North-East, claiming it was a "call for a separate Tamil state".

On a video clip that has been widely shared across social media, the monk Ampitiye Sumangala called said Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the "true Sinhala-Buddhist President" of Sri Lanka and called on him to investigate the protest.

Just days ago the monk, who has become notorious for his frequent violent outburst and assaults, threatened officials of the Department of Archaeology over a delay to demarcate an archaeological reservation land in Chenkalady.

Ampitiye Sumanarathana has had multiple accusations of hate speech and assault held against him.

The monk threatened to kill a Tamil government official in Batticaloa on November 2016, subjecting him to verbal slander when he describes 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.

Ampitiye Sumanarathana would also go on to lead a group of Bodhu Sala Sena (BBS) monks into Batticaloa and climb on top police barriers to spew anti-Tamil and Muslim hate speech. He was arrested after on a charge accusing him of gathering people in a manner that disrupted law and order.

When released on bail, Sumanarathana said appeasingly, ““I shout at my Tamil and Muslim brothers not because that I harbour anger against them, but just as a part of an ordinary confrontation. But we become friends again. I am the Batticaloa monk and I am not against anyone.”

However, he was depicted earlier this year, assaulting a Christian man when he visited Batticaloa. Sumanarathana is shown slapping the man while Sri Lankan police officers passively watch the spectacle. The monk then proceeds to criticise the police officers for failing to stop the Christian man from doing his missionary work.

 

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