Gnanasara Thero to lead 10,000-strong Buddhist monk rally in Kandy

A rally inviting all Sinhalese to unite (“Sinhalayini, samagi veyan”) will be held in Kandy on 7 July with the participation of 10,000 Buddhist monks, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero said yesterday.

“This will be the biggest nationalistic movement since 1956. We will either mould our political leaders, or we will send them home,” he said.

Gnanasara Thero was speaking at the launch of a newly formed Sinhala Buddhist nationalist collective named Vidathrava headed by businessman and former Consul General in California Pradeep Gunawardena.

Charging that there is a “serious cultural invasion” taking place in Sri Lanka, the firebrand monk said he and his followers will establish a new leadership that prioritises the country.

“The country is no. 1. This cannot be conditional. The elephant in the Kandy Perahera represents the Sinhalese who carries the toothrelic-casket (karanduwa) that symbolises Buddhism. Attempts are being made to remove the tusks of this elephant, to bring it down to the ground. We have to bring the tusker back up,” he said.

Noting that it’s uncertain whether it will be a general election or a presidential at the end of the year, Gnanasara Thero hinted at the possibility of bringing in a new leader whose views will be in line with BBS ideology.

The monk also accused the All Ceylon Jay’aathul Ulama of being responsible for all religious tension in the country.

“Nearly 90% of this country’s religious problems were started by this group. Nobody allows even a mention of this group. The president and PM are talking to them also,” he said.

Vidathrava, according to its founders, is a politically non-aligned group not affiliated with any political party. Its goal is to instate a nationalist-minded political leadership capable of developing the country while protecting majority interests.

“Vidathrava was formed with this goal in mind: to educate all citizens on electing qualified, pragmatic political leaders. We have no political affiliations whatsoever, no allegiance to any party. We’re independent thinkers with no link to anyone,” said Gunawardena.

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