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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Ranil Rajapaksa orders to establish a religious police in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka President Ranil Rajapaksa has  instructed the police minister  to immediately establish a dedicated police unit to take action against those t.

In practice  ‘threatening the peaceful coexistence among communities in the country’ means criticism of Sinhala Buddhism, creative writing on different aspects of Sinhala Buddhis  or making jokes on Sinhala Buddhism.

Daily Ft reports that  the swift decision comes after the President was briefed about an organised attempt by certain groups across the country to create religious disharmony through various acts. It is said the President was presented with intelligence information that similar incidents reported recently were not isolated incidents but were in fact a concerted effort to cause embarrassment to the Government.

Ranil Rajapaksa has now instructed his close friend and  Senior Advisor on National Security Sagala Ratnayake to discuss the matter with police minister  and take appropriate action. The unit’s primary objective will be to protect the country’s religious harmony and take decisive action against any individuals or groups that pose a threat to communal peace, the report says.

At same time Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs has  announced that the Government will present a draft bill in Parliament shortly to prevent the distortion of religion and to ensure religious freedom.

On Sunday the Police also arrested stand-up comedian Nathasha Edirisuriya over making alleged derogatory comments about the Lord Buddha. The complaint against her was lodged by the Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs. The CID has charged her under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act. She was also remanded till 7 June by the same court.

Meanwhile, the CID is also probing certain comments made by self-proclaimed Pastor Jerome Fernando. Fernando has managed to avoid arrest by remaining abroad. Last week he filed a Fundamental Rights petition through his lawyers seeking an order from the Supreme Court to prevent his possible arrest by the CID on his return to Sri Lanka.

With the inputs from Daily FT

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