Sri Lanka’s notorious Buddhist monk Galagodaatte Gnanasara of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) had participated in the Saudi National Day event organised by the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Colombo.
He was seen seated with diplomats and holding discussions with them and others at the event.
The BBS said that the the Gnanasara was invited to attend the event as a special guest.
Gnanasara, a former convict, is notorious for his bigotry and violence, having been found guilty of threatening the wife of Prageeth Eknaligoda; a critic of the then government in 2010. He was released from prison following a presidential pardon.
He has previously campaigned against having Halal products in Sri Lanka and has repeatedly spoken out against the island's Muslims and Tamils. 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.
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.”