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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2399

True Face and About Face

By A Patabendige

The government is supposed to be searching for fire brand monk Gnanasara thero, the face of the menacing BBS. So far its search, unsurprisingly, has failed. This is despite having a gamut of intelligence services, sneaks and tale carriers working overtime. They are probably augmented by the government’s favorites from its beloved but seriously imploding if not disintegrating ‘International Community’ and the foxy RAW.

Gnanasara has been accused for nearly a decade with a few tactical pauses, of stirring racial and religious enmity targeting the racial minorities, especially Muslims. He has led the BBS launched arson and vulgar verbal attacks on helpless Muslims for many years with impunity. He has brought contempt and disgrace to Buddhism and Buddhists. It turned every Muslim and morally conscious and appalled citizen against the ruling (2006-2015) UPFA government. He is also wanted for contempt of court. How has he survived? Can the PM tell the public?

No clear thinking Muslim or any other can fail to observe the contradiction in the ‘Yahapalana’ (Y) government and gutless intransigence in tackling the BBS and Gnanasara. The Muslims castigated the past government and accused it of promoting the BBS. But when in power the Y Government that promised to punish vendors of communal hate too faltered. It failed in its legal duty and casually betrayed the nation. Is there a puppet? Who then is the puppeteer?

Why is this? It is because SL’s political leaders in addition to their considerable weaknesses, absolutely lack moral courage leave alone morality. In the BBS case it is the inability of political leaders to stand up to communal hate except to keep talking on action to be taken. It maneuvers and covertly connives with selected mongers of hate. It irrationally fears a political blow back to taking a hard line.

This scenario is similar to what happened in July 1983 when the then UNP government had a two thirds majority in parliament. It stood benumbed and fearful as the Tamils were thrashed by its sonder commando hit squads/goondas. Colombo burned. The government did virtually nothing to stop the violence. The President came on TV on a Thursday and blamed the victims. There was no law and order or government for 5 terrible days until the bloody frenzy of ‘Koti’ (Tiger) Friday. An Indian government emissary witnessed it firsthand immediately on arrival. It was almost as if it was Presidential performance as the citizens stood aghast. The present PM was a Minister then. It is happening again. It was the army that saved SL then as in 2009.It is the same army that the government takes orders from Geneva to punish. This is about a loud talking effete parliamentary majority thinking only of its own survival.

All SL’s leaders were however not always like this. In 1962 the government despite immense pressure did not side with India in its disastrous ‘border’ war in the Aksi Chin Mountains which it started with China. SL, then called Ceylon, signed the Rubber Rice exchange pact with China in the 1950s despite ominous warnings by the USA. In 1971 it stood tall to tell India that SL would allow PIA but not PAF planes to use Colombo airport for its flights. (India had asked SL to disallow Pakistani planes from flying its soldiers to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Diplomatically it was the equivalent of the thrashing arrogant India got from SL in the 2017 Champions Trophy.

SL also recognized the PLO much against the West’s wishes. It was possibly the first country (1970) to order the closure of an Israeli embassy. It got rid of the Shell company monopoly for oil distribution. Most of the latter actions led to economic measures aimed at crippling SL. It stood firm, suffered immensely but kept its pride. Chief Justice Samarakoon stood up to President JRJ in the 1980s to protect the independence of the judiciary. His official bungalow was attacked by UNP goons and he was sacked. No one must forget this.

The finest example was in 2009. President Rajapakse stood up to the meddling emissaries of the former Imperial Western International Community that sought and failed to thwart the complete destruction of the terrorists. This act of the President of SL was however considered by the many green eyed pundits of the Diyawanna and their minions as an act of monumental and reckless stupidity. It was they who mocked the Armed Forces in battle. They will never know that extra ordinary courage is often thought to be stupid and foolish by those whose preference in times of peril is for personal survival. They are parasites who live on others misery.

Having hesitated for long, the Y government was goaded to act. It put on a show of force. On 17 June 17 there was a mighty police operation. With 11,558 PCs and 55 WPCs it launched a ‘major 4 hour search operation’ and netted 650 wanted men. But they failed to get the numero uno on their list - Gnanasara. Was he off limits for nearly 12,000 police searchers? Has he been given sanctuary? SL needs to know. How much longer can the public tolerate this silly never ending charade?

Then followed a snow ball, a threat of an avalanche to come. On 16 June Nilanthe Vithanage now described for the first time as the BBS CEO, dropped a bomb shell. At a press conference he said that it was Minister Ranawaka of the JHU that had wound up Gnanasara thera. He elaborated that ‘Gnanasara would have been even more violent had he accepted Ranawaka’s and Rathne thero’s ’contracts’! Vithanage added that the above two had ‘prompted Gnanasara to initiate more violence’.

Earlier ‘unity’ government spokesman Minister Seneratne made another of his sweeping allegations. He said that another Minister was giving Gnanasara asylum. He said he would expose him. He is off the air now. Why? Is it foot in the teeth disease?

Vithanage continued that ‘Gnanasara would have been even more violent had he accepted Ranawaka’s and Rathne thero’s’ contracts’! He added further that the two had ‘prompted Gnanasara to initiate more violence’.

Offering Ranawaka as a pop up target may be a ploy that Vithanage has hatched to save both BBS and himself, now that the noose was tightening. This type of betrayal is nothing new to the BBS.

Ranawaka was forced by the media to respond. He did not deny the allegations on TV (19 June 17). Instead he asked the media to question MR’s and GR’s lawyer and find out from him who it was that appeared for Gnanasara in the courts. Is seriously slipping Ranawaka not aware that lawyers will never reveal confidences of their clients? What a puerile if any defence!

A shadowy Sinhala Ravaya (SR) then got into the show and tell act. In apparent corroboration it says that the Y government is’ trying to label Gnanasara as another Prabakaran’. This is open to many interpretations including hero (to some) and villain (to most) and massive destruction. Hopefully it will not end up in a CFA as appears now. Will it lead to another 2009 type fiery finale? Will it be at Diyawanna with some holding the government hostage? Will some of the hostages abandon ship in SL’s political fashion? Who will be the human shields? What will the demands be?

SR leaked a not so big BBS secret but it used a false trail to implicate the Joint Opposition (JO) in exposing it. It cunningly stated that it was the JO’s contention that the BBS was created to support JHU’s Ranawaka and Athureliya Rathane thero as ‘Presidential candidates’ at the 2020 elections. But is it Gnanasara thero who will be the fall guy as has been the practice before?

Was PM Ranil not aware of all this? Did he not know about Ranawaka long before he made him a Minister of the Y government in 2015? Has he not read Ranawaka’s ‘Charge of the Lion Brigade’ (2009) when he was also a Minister but under MR.

All communities should also look inward and ask why this is happening? Why is it that Muslims do not for some time return the familiar splendid ‘Is Salam aleai kum’ (Peace be unto you) greeting if it comes from a non-Muslim? SL should not become a ground for Saudi inspired religious extremism. Those who try to bring the Crusades to SL especially on the social media networks should also desist. SL does not need or want it and will not tolerate it. The silver lining is thankfully that only the Hindus have no problem with the others. So there is no excuse for 1983 to be repeated. Let people with moral courage lead SL.

- Asian Tribune -

True Face and About Face
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