|Aluthgama set on fire by BBS
Talking as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth and he couldn’t say boo to a goose, the Bodu Bala Sena chief, Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara on Wednesday tells the waiting media after emerging from the CID headquarters in Fort, where he and his clan had been summoned to give a statement regarding the June 15 Aluthgama incident in which three Muslims were murdered and 77 seriously injured, that they dutifully obeyed the summons for ‘no one is above the law’
.Presenting himself as a truly law abiding citizen shrouded in the impenetrable veil of non violence, a much abused, misunderstood man more sinned against than sinning, he declares soberly, “we received a request from the CID to come and make a statement. So we came. We have to respect the law of the land. Just because we are monks or religious dignitaries we are not accorded a special place. We are under the present law. Our duty as a Buddhist monk is to protect this non violent Dhamma which we have protected for 2,500 years. When the Dhamma faces attack from other religions the only weapon we, as Buddhist monks, have is the weapon of non-violence. We shall continue to talk in pure language not only at Aluthgama but elsewhere. To awaken our nation is our sacred responsibility. “Referring to the first incident of June 12th in Aluthgama where a Buddhist monk who intervened on behalf of his driver regarding a road incident was allegedly assaulted by three Muslim youths, he says it was a heinous offence against Buddhism and could not be ignored.
“To touch a Buddhist monk is not something that can be treated lightly,’ he states with all the fervour and conviction of one who would not let pass such an incident without meting out the concomitant punishment.
Meanwhile, last Saturday in a separate incident, the chief monk of the Sri Munasingharama Temple in Hatale, Panwila was assaulted by a Sinhalese mob when he tried to intervene to settle a dispute between his driver and the Sinhalese villagers over an illicit affair his driver had with a woman. The villagers then disrobed the monk, forced him to wear a sarong and tied him to a bus stop. He was later hospitalised for the injuries sustained in the assault. Twenty-eight people, including women were arrested by the police following the incident.
So did the self-appointed guardians of Buddhism descend on the village of Panwila to teach its residents a thing or two about how to revere and respect a Buddhist monk, in the manner they expounded on June 15 to the Muslim residents of Aluthgama? Did their bleeding hearts reach out to embrace the distress of their brother monk; did their hands rise in his defence? Was even a salutary statement condemning the attack issued? Was the violent sacrilege denounced in no uncertain crystal pure Sinhala terms? Thankfully they did nothing of the sort and take the law unto their own hands, leaving it to the rightful authority, the police, to settle the matter.
But this incident should have sent the alarm bells ringing throughout the Buddhist domain and alerted both the Sasana and the laity that something was terribly amiss, that something was rotten at the core. When a group of Sinhalese villagers, howsoever enraged, cast aside their long conditioned respect to the clergy and hurl their wrath upon a helpless monk, assault and disrobe him, it is time to take stock of the depths to which that collective respect has been lowered, due, no doubt, in no small measure, to the reprehensible antics of a few renegade monks, bent on squandering by vile word and foul deed, the goodwill earned by their forebearers through worthy precept and exemplary practice.
If there was a time for some honest soul-searching, some genuine effort to douse the fires of hatred with the waters of love, this was it.Instead the Bodu Bala Sena was more intent on communal bashing and challenging the government to arrest them if it dared, with one acolyte even having the gall to warn that if they were arrested ‘all the buildings will be turned to voluntary prisons and all coconut trees would become gallows’.
But, though much welcome, doesn’t the Bodu Bala Sena’s inaction in this case when a Buddhist monk was assaulted and further disrobed and tied to a bus stop by a mob, also reveal that, for all their professed concern over protecting the Sasana and the respect accorded to the Buddhist robe, they will beat the patriotic war drum only when Muslims are involved in the attack, when the risk of communal violence breaking out is ominously present? That when it happens to an innocent Sinhala Buddhist monk at the hands of an angry Sinhala mob, they couldn’t care less?
Boru Bala’s Great Lie stands exposed.
Doesn’t this show, if showing was ever necessary, that it is not their love for Buddhism that motivates them — that it is only a convenient and all excusing cover — but their hatred toward another faith, harboured overtly and expressed violently at the drop of a hat to advance a sinister agenda best known to themselves and to those who fund it? That their vile, despicable nature is such that they are prepared to betray their own religion, barter the sublime faith they were born to, sell outright the mother of all their conditioned thoughts and feelings though now warped and turned barbaric through evil associations; and have no qualms of seeing the noble non violent philosophy of the Buddha, in whose name and honour they perform this abominable treachery and pronounce unspeakable profanities, traduced in the dust to the lasting disdain and contempt of all mankind who can only watch in shocked disbelief at this wanton degradation of the Gautama legacy.
Now that their real motive and purpose in perpetrating violence and terror have been plainly revealed, they should stick to their temples and concern themselves with their spiritual tasks which, given their recent transgressions must demand their total efforts and time to transcend brutish states of samsaric existence, and let the lay law enforcement authorities do their job. The nation’s soil has been drenched by enough blood in these last thirty years by a needless ethnic war that she can do without more being shed at the behest of beasts in robes.