OPPP National List dispute: Monk complains to Swiss Embassy
ECONOMYNEXT – A Monk associated with the Our People’s Power Party (OPPP) has complained at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo saying he was kidnapped and assaulted by rival Monks over the dispute over who should claim the sole National List seat the party won at the recently concluded elections.
Arambepola Ratanasara Thero, a member of the OPPP says he was “kidnapped and held illegally” by the Sinhala Supremacist Monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero.
He says he was repeatedly assaulted and had wounds on his face to show for it.
Ratanasara Thero told reporters last night he was lodging a complaint at the office of the Inspector General of Police against his abductors.
He said Gnanasara Thero was wanting information about the whereabouts of the General Secretary of the OPPP known in Sinhala as the Ape Janabala Pakshaya (අපේ ජනබල පක්ෂය), Vedinigama Wimalatissa Thero.
The dispute between the Monks arose after the OPPP failed to agree over whom they would nominate for the National List seat.
The party qualified for a seat on the National List as it received 67, 758 votes countrywide.
While the well-known demagogue Gnanasara wanted the seat the veteran Monk-politician Athureliye Ratana Thero who was defeated at the seat he contested also claimed it.’
However Wimalatissa as General Secretary of the party wrote to the Elections Commission saying as Ratana Thero and Gnanasara Thero were squabbling over the seat, he was nominating himself to fill the vacancy until the dispute ended.
After that Wimalatissa Thero went into hiding and Gnanasara’s cohorts were trying to find him.’
In the meantime, the Chairman of the OPPP Saman Perera submitted a letter to the Elections Commission saying that he has sacked Wimalatissa Thero from the Secretary position and he was nominating himself for the Parliamentary seat.
After receiving both letters the Commission sent the file over to the Attorney General to get a legal opinion.
The OPPP seat remains vacant with just a day to go for Parliament to begin sittings.
Before the elections, the leaders of the Main Chapters of the Buddhist Clergy banned Monks from contesting elections and urged parties not to nominate Theros on their lists.
The OPPP was then formed by groups of Monks led by Gnanasara and Ratana Theros. (Colombo, August, 18, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana