02/13/2010, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Supreme Buddhist Leaders: Social confusion will lead Sri Lanka to destruction

by Melani Manel Perera
The four Supreme Leaders invite Buddhist monks not remain silent in the face of the chaos which began after the arrest of General Fonseka by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Convened on 18 February a special assembly of monks to discuss the current situation and contribute to the democratic progress of the country.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - "The confusion that has affected the democratic government will lead to the destruction of the country." This is the statement of the four supreme Buddhist leaders of Sri Lanka. And this just days after the arrest of General Sarath Fonseka, the main challenger to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the dissolution of parliament. In a statement addressed to all the temples, the Supreme Leaders invite the monks not to remain silent in the face of the climate that chaos began after the election. They announced on 18 February, a special assembly of the Buddhist clergy (Sangha Assembly) at the temple of Maha Maluwa at Kandi to discuss the serious situation in the country and contribute to the democratic progress of the nation.

The arrest of Gen. Fonseka occurred on Feb. 8, after the controversial election victory of President Rajapaksa on 26 January. General Fonseka has to face charges of conspiracy and incitement to rebellion. He risks court-martial for still being a member of the armed forces. After the clashes with supporters of the challenger, Rajapaksa dissolved parliament and called for general elections on 8 April. Members of the opposition accuse him of wanting to win the two-thirds of the seats to control the country.

Bellanwela Wimalaratne Thero, Chancellor of the temple of Bellanwilla Rajamaha (Colombo), said: "Many versions circulating in the country about the arrest of General Fonseka. Those who have expressed opinions on the episode, including members of the government, have described it as an unplanned action, and said they were disappointed at the arrest”.  The Monk says Fonseka should be tried by a civilian court. This is to prevent his arrest appearing like the personal vendetta of President Rajapaksa.

In early February the Supreme Leader has asked President Rajapaksa to release Fonseka, stressing the service performed by the general in the fight against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

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