Gammanpila takes on Wijedasa Rajapaksha
United National Party MP Wijedasa Rajapaksha yesterday said he has no
intention of stopping Buddhist monks from coming to politics but said,
on being asked about his proposed Bill in this regard, that the Bill was
to prevent Buddhist monks from becoming Members of Parliament.
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of Jathika Hela Urumaya and Western
Province Minister Udaya Gammanpila openly challenged UNP MP Wijedasa
Rajapaksha to an open television debate on the matter.
Asked whether or not he would accept Gammanpila’s challenge to join
with him to a TV debate on the matter, Wijedasa Rajapaksha said, he is
not prepared to enter into any debate format, but said he is prepared to
discuss his Bill that seeks to prevent Buddhist monks being elected to
UNP MP said,”I will discuss the matter with “erudite” Buddhist monks
if I had to, but I will not enter into any format of debate with an
Asked if he was prepared to discuss his Bill with a Buddhist monk
from Jathika Hela Urumaya(JHU),he said he will discuss it with any monk
Gammanpila commenting on his challege to Wijedasa Rajapaksha and the
latter’s willingness to discuss the subject in question with an erudite
monk, yesterday asked the learned MP had gone on to consider himself as
being in par with erudite Buddhist monks in the country.
“Wijedasa Rajapaksha has carried forward the UNP’s usual
anti-Buddhist sentiments without any knowledge of the country’s history
and the role of Buddhist monks in the country’s politics,” said
“Wijedasa Rajapksha is a politician, and so am I. I am the Secretary
General of a political party that has Buddhist monks who represent the
party in Parliament,” he pointed out.
“First of all Wijedasa Rajapaksha should climb down from his
psychogenic Sierra mountains where he thinks that he is in par with
venerable Buddhist monks,” he said. “If the learned MP has any venerable
Buddhist monk supporting his move, then the matter would have been
“Besides, Wijedasa Rajapaksha has no right to bring a Bill of this
nature to Parliament that stand to curb their civil and political
rights,” he pointed out.
“The acceptance of Buddhist monks in Sri Lankan politics is a matter
that has been discussed and concluded long time ago. It is clearly
stated in the Vidyalankara declaration of 1946. Their role in politics
has been justified according to the Vidyalankara Declaration and former
UNP stalwart D S Senanayake who entertained the ideology that Buddhist
clergy has no place in Sri Lanka’s political sphere later admitted and
accepted their role after things had been explained by Buddhist monks,
such as Walpola Rahula Thera,” explained Gammanpila.