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Sinhala Buddhist monk threatens government officials over archaeological site


Ampitiye Sumanarathana, a monk notorious for previous assaults, threatened officials of the Department of Archaeology over a delay to demarcate an archaeological reservation land in Chenkalady on Monday.

The video shows Ampitiye Sumanarathana threatening to choke one official and demanded his superior to make an appearance at the scene.

Colombo Gazette reported that the monk was heard threatening a government official. “Tell your superior to come or I will take this pole and kill you,” he threatened.

The official is seen on his phone supervising the gathering but the monk is pictured pushing the official and expressing aggravated body language.

Commenting on the incident, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Govinthan Karunakaran stated in parliament that "the monk has assaulted a government servant and is known to be notorious. He will have to be driven out of Batticaloa if he continues to unleash violence."

The comment was met with uproar from other parliamentarians who called it to be expunged from Hansard. However, TNA MP M A Sumanthiran responded that there was nothing to be expunged as his colleague had merely described what had happened. 

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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