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Sri Lanka’s Buddhist affairs minister requests to free BBS leader

Sri Lanka’s minister of Buddhist affairs has written to president Maithripala Sirisena, conveying requests to pardon and free the leader of the extremist Sinhala hate group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS).

Gamini Jayawickrama Perera’s letter to Sirisena conveyed requests from other Buddhist leaders that the Galagodaaththe Gnanasara be released by Sri Lanka’s independence day on February 4th. Perera told the Daily Mirror that he had reportedly received several letters of support from other Buddhist leaders across the south for the jailed BBS monk.

“I would request the President to grant a pardon for Ven. Gnanasara Thera (sic),” the minister reportedly told the Daily Mirror.

His letter to Sirisena comes as SLFP politburo member and MP Shanta Bandara also told the Daily Mirror that it was “likely” that Gnanasara would receive a presidential pardon.

Gnanasara, who is currently serving jail time for contempt of court, has led the group which has organised several Sinhala nationalist marches and stirred racial tensions on the island with leaders committing hate speech.

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