Ven. Galagodaathhe Gnanasara Thera in an interview with the Daily News said the Bodu Bala Sena and the Bodu Jana Peramuna will create a Sinhala Buddhist Leader within the next 10 years. The Thera said there is a threat to the nation’s sovereignty. However, the Thera said they will not allow any division of the country.
Following are excerpts:
Q: The BBS is a civil society organization, but the Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP) is a political party. What is your opinion on the BBS and BJP?
A: Even though the Bodu Jana Peramuna is a political party, it carries forward the policies of the Bodu Bala Sena. During the past period, we tried to expose enemies who worked against the country and the Sinhala people and the Buddhasasanaya. We tried to build up a public opinion and a public power through our organization and attempted to get attention of the authorities and political leaders. Unfortunately, politicians who had petty agendas tried to subjugate us. They said it was because of the BBS that Muslims distanced from the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Some said we were implementing a programme of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
Therefore, as an organization we decided to transform into a political power. We are determined to showcase the danger against Sinhalese and Buddhists and implement a programme for the security of Sinhalese. Our main target is to rescue Sinhalese from the above danger.
Q: Do you think that politics is appropriate for Buddhists monks?
A: Why only Buddhist monks. The UNP’s Eran Wickramaratne was a Christian priest. He is a Deputy Minister today. Buddhist monks since ancient times have been the guardians of the nation. One of the main duties of the Maha Sangha is providing leadership to the nation.
Q: You are criticising the former President. However, you supported Rajapaksa during the past presidential election?
A: Mahinda Rajapaksa is only one character to us. There was political instability. We thought Rajapksa could lead a stable government. Many western powers tried to enter the country. Separatists were coming to the fore. Whatever allegations have been made by some, Rajapaksa ensured national security. Even though we have been accused, we don’t want to hide the truth. However, Rajapaksa is attacking us now. He has forgotten our support.
Q: However, a peaceful atmosphere prevails in the North and East?
A: Dancers who are performing in a procession cannot see their own weakness. But shortcomings of a procession can be seen by outsiders. If you ask problems from soldiers in those areas, they can reveal the true situation.
Today, some politicians in North are campaigning while exhibiting the LTTE map. A few days ago, two Sinhala soldiers were assaulted by ex-LTTE cadres in the Pesale area. The LTTE is raising it head again. Extremists who want to divide the country are following them.
Q: During the past period, your organization has been accused of unleashing violence on minorities. There was a recent incident in the Horana area where your organization allegedly got involved?
A: There was a meeting organized close to a temple. A UPFA politician had held another meeting close to the temple one week before. This was done by Christian fundamentalists. We tried to stop the meeting as it was inappropriate. It was close to a temple. However, Police interfered and threatened Bhikkus instead of taking action to prevent such meetings close to temples. We have not attacked minorities, but we have stood against injustice caused to Sinhala Buddhists.
Q: Which leader gives prominence to national security?
A: It has been proved during the past few months. Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa also did his duty. He is the best person for the purpose from the current lot.
Q: It is clear that you are not popular among minorities. In this backdrop, how can you become a national level political force to reckon with?
A: There are 34 parties to discuss problems of minorities. Other than that, there are numerous organizations to discuss problems of minorities. Therefore, we discuss Sinhala Buddhists’ problems. We have support from the majority.
Q: How many seats can you win at the election?
A: We are a new party to politics. We will get a few seats. We have limited time, limited power and limited resources. One of the main problems is we don’t have media support, like others. A foothold is enough for us to grow as a power to reckon with at the next polls.
Q: Can you explain your strategy at the polls?
A: Our request is one vote from one family to raise voice for the nation. We don’t have enough facilities to send our message to the public. We have presented our manifesto. We don’t have time to engage in door to door campaigning. Our target is to build up a good Sinhala Buddhists’ leader within 10 years.
Q: Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has accused that you are fulfilling a contract given by Norway?
A: That was his downfall. He listens to gossip and canards. He repeats the words of his foolish Kewatta advisers. This is why he had to leave with two years of his second term remaining.
Q: There is another accusation that the BBS was put forward as a party at the polls to deny votes to Rajapaksa?
A: These things are not relevant to us. They are lies.
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