In a strange falling out, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has threatened to take legal action against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his statements to the Colombo-based foreign media last week alleging that the untitled-1hardline group was created by the Opposition and Western Governments to ensure his defeat.
The hardline group has demanded that the former President or his proxies back up the statements with facts and said the group was willing to take action against any individual or organisation, including the media, which attempted to bring the BBS into disrepute.
Addressing a press briefing at the Bodu Bala Sena headquarters in Kirulapone yesterday, the organisation’s CEO Dilantha Withanage said members of the former ruling administration, led by Rajapaksa had been behind anti-Muslim violence in Aluthgama and the controversial Buddhist monk-led mob attack on the Fashion Bug warehouse in Pepiliyana.
Withanage claimed that the Government’s culpability in those attacks was the real reason why no persons were arrested for the crimes.
“Don’t throw stones from glass houses,” the BBS CEO warned the former President. The Bodu Bala Sena endorsed Rajapaksa for President in January 2015, but when he met foreign correspondents at his Wijerama residence last week, the former President claimed the group had been created to isolate his Government from the Muslim community and defeat him electorally.
Withanage said the BBS admired the former President for ending the war and hailed the former leader’s “magnetic” personality. But he charged that Rajapaksa was consumed with returning to power and had no real feeling about the problems faced by the people.
“To this day, President Rajapaksa speaks only about his houses, his cars, his family and his security. The Bodu Bala Sena has never represented itself, but the problems faced by the Sinhalese community in the country,” Withanage charged.
When he met foreign correspondents last week, Rajapaksa claimed that the Bodu Bala Sena was “Champika’s creation”, referring to Minister Champika Ranawaka, who defected from his administration to support the opposition candidate at the 2015 election. “He was Champika’s man,” Rajapaksa said, referring to the BBS’ controversial General Secretary Gnanasara Thero. The former Leader said that the BBS General Secretary had gone to a Ranawaka family funeral and claimed that Ranawaka would be President in 2020. Rajapaksa said that the JHU strongman had prevented him from taking action against the BBS in his time.
“That was the mistake. Then Champika was there no. Champika was shouting at the cabinet and making a big fuss. Rajitha also was supporting them. I mean that was the mistake I did, I just listened to them and didn’t do anything,” Rajapaksa told foreign correspondents.
Rajapaksa added that while the BBS was claiming to support him for re-election in 2015, the group was really supporting the UNP. “They wanted to get the Muslim crowd out. They were attacking the Muslims. That was also planned. He (BBS General Secretary Gnansara Thero) was invited to Norway and America,” he said.
Norway had funded the BBS, the former President said, to attack the Muslims.
However, Withanage denied the claims the very next day, telling the BBC that the BBS had fully supported President Rajapaksa’s re-election campaign. “We worked for his victory,” the BBS CEO claimed.
Courtesy: Daily FT