How then must the opposition campaign? How does a Sinhala dominated opposition allay the fears of the Sinhala community that the opposition campaign—a cause for which there will be critical but overwhelming Tamil support—will harm the Sinhalese? Equally, how must a responsible Tamil opposition express its positions to the Tamil people credibly, without undermining Mr. Sirisena’s ability to attract Sinhala votes?
In the short term, BBS will perish only if it decides to clash head-on with the most powerful in the country, President Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The chances of that happening are slim. But for a phenomenon like the BBS to be rooted out, what is needed is a radical rethinking and re-articulation of what it means to be a ‘Sinhala-Buddhist’. It is only such a re-thinking and re-branding of the Sinhala-Buddhist identity which would make groups like the BBS redundant, unnecessary, deplorable.
In short, this decision by the two Amarapura chapters have thrown out a challenge to the Budhists in Sinhala South. Will they respect their own religion, if they are Buddhists ? If they take up this challenge positively, it would certainly mark a new phase in Sri Lankan politics, not only in the South, but in the whole country as well. For that essentially deforms the Sinhala extremist platform.
Sumanthri Samarawickrama Jayaweera is a Lecturer at the University of Moratuwa. Sumanthri was part of a panel discussion at the presentation of Visual Diversity in Sri Lanka, a book on design, at the Goethe-Institut late last year. She spoke about the evolution of the Sinhala script and typography, and this is also where our conversation begins.
Some Sinhalese ministers have expressed unease and a prominent newly retired diplomat, Dayan Jayatilleka, calls the BBS an “ethno-religious fascist movement from the dark underside of Sinhala society”.
Many Sri Lankans feel there are uncomfortable echoes of the 1983 pogroms, when Sinhala violence against Tamils precipitated the war.
But hardline Buddhist rallies and “direct action” stunts are happening all the time now. And their social and political influence is expanding.
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) says Sri Lanka is not a multiracial or multi-religious country but a Sinhala Budhist country.
Speaking at the Bodu Bala Sena convention in Panadura this evening, the venerable Medagoda Abayathissa thero urged the Sinhalese to protect the nation and not let other races or religions to take over.
The monk also urged Sinhalese families to have at least 5-6 children so that the Sinhalese Buddhist population grows in order to protect the Sinhala race and Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
source: Colombo Gazette
In his weekly column THE GUARD POST in the Ceylon Today Mr. Udaya Gammanpila of Jathika Hela Urumyaya, constituent party of the UPFA government, stated on 20 January 2013 that he “strongly feels a repetition of the 1915 Sinhala Muslim clash is imminent”.
This is in response to that comment. When Mr. Gammanpila predicted a 1915 type carnage against Muslims, one ought to realize that the situation is frightening as he belongs to Sinhala extremist Jathika Hela Urumaya which openly advocates that Sri Lanka solely belongs to Sinhala Buddhists only and the Tamils should go to Tamilnad and Muslims to Saudi Arabia.