BBS admits Norway visit, but denies taking money

Dares Weerawansa to prove allegations or walk in loin cloth!

by Ravi Ladduwahetty

 The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) yesterday dared National Freedom Front Leader and Housing and Construction Minister Wimal Weerawansa to prove his allegations that they were recipients of funding from either Norway or any international non governmental organization (INGO) or to walk on the road in a loin cloth!

"Now that Minister Weerawansa has alleged that we went to Norway to seek funding from an INGO there, it is up to him to prove it. If he does that, we will publicly apologise to the country and immediately disband our organisation," BBS General Secretary, Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera told a news conference yesterday.

He said that Weerawansa, as a responsible Cabinet Minister, should not utter such falsehoods for the sake of public attention and make a fool of himself. "These are the people who carry tales to the President to keep their ministerial portfolios and perks, while our only aim is to safeguard Buddhism and Sinhala Buddhist values," the thera said.

However, Ven. Gnanasara Thera conceded that delegation of persons who later got together to form the BBS had visited Norway to muster support of civilians there and to discess how civilian life in the North and the East of Sri Lanka could be salvaged after 30 years of war.

He said that the trip had helped allay fears and myths that the Buddhist monks were against the innocent Tamil civilians and also that every Sinhalese saw the Tamil civilians as LTTE terrorists. "We as Buddhist monks have all the right to visit any part of the world in our quest for promoting the Dhamma and discussing other issues relating to civil life in Sri Lanka and it is very wrong for Minister Weerawansa to allege that we had solicited funds," Ven Gnanasara thera said.

Commenting on an allegation made by Weerawansa that the BBS had solicited the support of the LTTE supporters in the US, Ven. Gnanasara Thera said that it was the Sri Lankan Diaspora that the delegation met and they included six doctors and a journalist in both New York and New Jersey and not Tigers. He said that the Tamils they had met had no links with the LTTE. The monk said that he wondered whether Weerawansa had links with the Siva Sena organization in India, which published a series of 52 books, which also attempted to prove that the Buddha was born in Sri Lanka and not in India!

He also alleged that the local representative of Siva Sena organization was a Buddhist monk in Meewana in the Padukka area also well known to Minister Weerawansa’s family.

BBS President Ven. Kirama Vimalajothi said that the BBS was not an armed group, but a moment whose mission was to save Buddhism from extremism and elements which were attempting to destroy the Sinhala Buddhist race. That is the reason why there are birth control medicines and injections coming from some foreign countries, he said, adding that the only mandate of the BBS was to protect the country and guide the rulers on the righteous path. It was a mandate the Maha Sangha had been enjoying for the last two and a half millennia, he added.

Ven Vimalajothi said that there was no one to protest when Buddhist places of worship were being destroyed in the Eastern Province.

He also alleged that the sacred place of worship and temple in Trincomalee, which Thapassu and Balluka visited, had also been destroyed on Saturday but nobody was talking about that!

If the government or the Ministry of Buddha Sasana did not take notice of such acts of vandalism, then the Buddhist monks as the custodians of Buddhism had to make an intervention, the Thera said.

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