Photo of Gotabaya Rajapaksa with Gnanasara
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed convicted extremist monk, Galagodaaththe Gnanasara to head a Presidential Task Force focused on achieving “One Country One Law”.
Gnanasara was previously found guilty on two counts and sentenced to 6 months in prison for threatening the wife of Prageeth Eknaligoda; a critic of the then government in 2010. He was released from prison following a presidential pardon.
He also faced severe criticism for spreading hate speech and attacking religious minorities. In 2014, prior to the anti-Muslim riots, he told a cheering Sinhala nationalist crowd in Aluthgama that “if one marakkalaya ( Muslim) lays a hand on a Sinhalese that will be the end of all of them”. The resulting violence killed four people and left 80 injured, with hundreds left homeless. Amongst the sites attacked were mosques, Muslim homes, businesses, and even a nursery.
Photo Credit: Gnanasara with Wirathu
Whilst the Body Bala Sena (BBS), Gnanasara’s organisation, denied responsibility for the riots he has repeatedly stoked fear amongst the Sinhala public warning them of the need to resist eradication. The BBS also has strong ties with Myanmar’s extremist 969 and with the radical monk Wirathu who are similarly criticised for stoking resentment against the Rohingya population.
Gnanasara has vehemently opposed Tamil’s rights to self-determination, threatening last year of a “river of blood”.
“We will not allow the Tamils to find a solution through devolution. If they demand a separate state again, a river of blood will flow in the North and East.”
In detailing his appointment, the gazette notification maintains that the PTF will have two key roles:
To study and implement the concept of “One Country One Law” within Sri Lanka and prepare a draft Act for this purpose.
To make the necessary amendments as suggested by the Ministry of Justice.
The final report is to be submitted next February.
Read more here.