Sri Lanka monk jailed for hurting Buddhist sentiments

ECONOMYNEXT – The Mount Lavinia magistrate today remanded monk and former member of parliament Akmeemana Dayarathana for leading a violent mob which stormed a refugee centre and caused severe distress to peace-loving Buddhists.

Police told the magistrate that the monk’s hate speech and his violent actions that were uploaded live over his own facebook page had upset law abiding Buddhists who were shocked to see such violence unleashed by a monk.

Monk Dayarathana’s radical Sinhale Jathika Balamuluwa (Sinhalese National Force) raided the multi-storied UN-protected refugee shelter at Mount Lavinia on Tuesday forcing 31 Rohingya, including 16 children, to leave.

The police initially placed the refugees under protective custody and later moved them to the Boossa detention centre to save them from the marauding "thugs in robes," as the monks were described by Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

Government spokesman minister Rajitha Senaratne had said that the monks had behaved like animals and were a disgrace to Buddhists.

"Peace-loving Buddhists were shocked to see a monk behaving so badly," a police officer said.  "There are seven charges against the monk and one of them is causing distress to the majority Buddhist community."

The raid on the refugee centre was led by monk Dayarathana who also urged bystanders to join in pelting stones and smashing the premises.

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After evading arrest since Tuesday’s attack, he surrendered to the police on Monday morning. He was promptly arrested and taken before the Mount Lavinia magistrate.

The monk, along with six other laymen already in remand custody since the weekend, will now be taken before an identification parade on October 9.

They are also charged with assaulting police and obstruction of justice. (COLOMBO, October 2, 2017)