Sri Lanka’s Sinhala ‘Buddhist Advisory Council’ praised war crimes accused president Gotabaya Rajapaksa for “walking the talk” when it comes to following several of their recommendations this week, as the Rajapaksa regime continued its staunchly Sinhala nationalist policies.
The council, which has been meeting regularly with the Sri Lankan president and other senior government members, was set up by Rajapaksa earlier this year.
The senior Sinhala Buddhist clergy praised Rajapaksa for “executing several proposals put forward by them including protecting historical places with archeological value, developing Pirivena education by removing deficiencies, providing deeds to Vihara lands… , prioritizing national security, controlling the drug menace… creating the background for discourse on Buddha Sasana and taking Buddhist Universities under the purview of Ministry of Education”.
Since Rajapaksa took office in November, the current regime has rapidly gone about pushing extremist nationalist policies, including the appointment of an all Sinhala task force on archaeology in the Eastern province. Many in the Tamil speaking region fear the task force will be used as cover for further land grabs in the region, as Sinhalisation of the North-East continues.
Regardless, Rajapaksa announced his intention to push on with the changes, with the President’s Media Division stating the monks will be meeting with government officials “on the third Friday of every month”.