NFF requests President Permit Gnanasara Thera to don robe in prison

Wimal Weerawansa

The National Freedom Front (NFF) led by Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa yesterday (15), sought the intervention of President Maithripala Sirisena to ensure that General Secretary of Bodu Bala Sena, Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera serve his prison term in robes.

The Thera was sentenced to six months imprisonment on 14 June, after being convicted on charges of criminal harassment and criminal intimidation.

NFF’s National Organizer MP Jayantha Samaraweera in a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena had stated that stripping the Thera of his robes would tantamount to disrespecting the Buddha Cheevaraya (the Buddha’s saffron robe) and therefore to direct prison officials to permit the Thera to wear the robe for the duration of his prison term.

“According to prison officials, the Thera cannot don his robes while being a prisoner and will have to wear the attire designated to inmates.

Whether the Thera has committed the acts, we believe that preventing the Thera from donning the robe would amount to disrespecting the Buddha Sasana and the Buddhist clergy,” the letter stated.

The letter also stressed that the Constitution provides for the Head of the State to intervene on crucial issues if it leads to the eruption of chaos in the country or hurts public interest.

“Therefore, we request you to exert your powers to stop prison officials from preventing the Thera from wearing robes,” the letter concluded.

(Source: Ceylon Today)