Several NGOs trying to discourage Perahera tradition: Thera | Daily News

Several NGOs trying to discourage Perahera tradition: Thera

The Chief Incumbent of Sri Sambodhi Viharaya at Gregory’s Road Colombo 7, Ven.Daranagama Kusaladhamma Thera yesterday disclosed of an attempt by several NGOs in Colombo to destroy Sri Lanka ‘s Perahera culture.

Ven. Kusaladhamma Thera said the Sri Sambodh Viharaya has been prevented from holding its seventh annual Perahaera on May 23 this year because activists in these NGOs and a recently appointed Director General of the Wildlife Department wielding a heavy hand of authority on Perahera activities of the temples.

The authoririties have in custody elephants that were bought by the temples to parade in the Peraheras.

”The elephants in this country have been well looked after and cared for by Buddhist monks for over many centuries before the appearance of NGOs and a few locals trying to display their loving kindness to elephants in the land through many thousands and millions of dollars they garner from these foreign organizations with vested interest.”

“If they are so concerned about preventing cruelty being inflicted on animals they may do well to protect fowls, pigs and cows that are waiting to be slaughtered every day,” the Thera said.

“Several foreign funded NGOs in Sri Lanka are on a role to discourage the Perahera tradition in temples masquerading as protectors of elephants,” he said.

Attorney- at-Law Shashika Jayathilaka, a source close to Sambodhi Viharaya said,20) elephants , which were bought by the temples to be trained for parading in the Peraheras during Vesak and Poson , seasons this year, are currently in the custody of the Wildlife Department, the animals being seized from the temples.

Jayathilaka said the Wildlife Department has been trying to brand the elephants as “Hora Ali” (“elephants without permits..”)

“In fact they are not captive elephants. The animals have ownership permits and registration, except that the Wildlife Department has not issued permits in 2016,” the Thera said. Despite a Court order issued by Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya on May to the government authorities to 20 to release 15 elephants from their custody to their caretakers till August 31 subject to Rs 30 million bonds, they did not do so.

“Wildlife Director General Dr Sumith Pilaitiya had refused to do so despite the Court taking steps to fax the order. He told us that the Fiscal should hand it over to him,” he said. Also, it was agreed upon at a meeting held between President Maithripala Sirisena and the authorities on May 30 that the elephants will be released to the temples.

Ven. Kusaladhamma Thera said on TV two days ago that Wildlife Director had stated that he would resign from his post if he must release the elephants.

The Thera said,”Wildlife director has simply over stepped his line of authority.”


 

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