09/18/2021, 13.34
SRI LANKA
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Buddhist monk claims to have information on a new attack

by Melani Manel Perera

Catholics have called for an investigation into allegations made by Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, general secretary of the nationalist Bodu Bala Sena organisation. Catholic Church official has denied the monk’s claim that he warned Cardinal Ranjith about the Easter Sunday attacks.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Church of Sri Lanka has called for an investigation into allegations made by a Buddhist monk regarding an imminent terrorist attack.

During a political talk show that aired last Monday, Venerable Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero said he had information about a pending attack.

Sri Lanka is not new to such incidents. On Easter Sunday 2019, bombings were carried out killing almost 300 people and wounding more than 500.

The cleric, who is the general secretary of Bodu Bala Sena, a Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist organisation, noted that he knew who might carry out new attacks and where, claiming to have informed the president.

On Thursday, during a press conference at the bishop's residence, Fr Cyril Gamini Fernando, spokesman for the Catholic Committee on the Easter Sunday attacks, reacted to the Buddhist monk's statements, noting that it is unclear whether the relevant authorities took action based on this information regarding national security.

After Gnanasara's revelations, Sri Lankan Catholic clergy asked the Inspector General of Police to take all necessary measures to prevent a new attack.

For his part, Fr Gamini denied the claim by the Buddhist cleric that he had warned Card Malcolm Ranjith of an attack against the Catholic community as early as 2017.

“The monk only spoke to Cardinal Ranjith about 'Islamic expansionism',” the priest explained.

In 2018, Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero was convicted for contempt of court and sentenced to six years in prison but received a presidential pardon in 2019 and was released.

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