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Custody of Sri Lankan Buddhist Monk Extended

August 7, 2023

A Buddhist monk who was detained last week for interfering with religious harmony in the island nation has had his remand period extended by a Sri Lankan court.

According to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), in court testimony, his internet videos have stoked tension amongst people of different races and religions, and his words have threatened some individuals.

Following a complaint by Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thera, another Buddhist monk, the monk was taken into custody on April 29. 

Sagara Thera said in the complaint that Saddharathana Thera made remarks and used vulgar language that bothered non-Buddhists and Buddhists alike.

The CID said in court that their research led to the suspicion that the monk was being supported by other individuals, and that they were trading enormous sums of money.

More than 60 million Sri Lankan rupees, or roughly $205,400, according to the CID, have been linked to a bank account in the monk’s name.

No proof has been provided to the court, according to the accused monk’s attorney Amila Egodamahawatta, proving that his client has incited unrest or disputes between races and religions.

Buddhist activist Surini Nanayakkara claimed there is no proof the monk started trouble.

She claimed that these are political games. She continued, “People need to be on the lookout for such political concerns because the presidential election will take place next year.

Two weeks before to his imprisonment, Saddharathana Thera declared on social media that he has no political, caste, or religious issues.

“I do not identify with any caste or political organisation. I support everyone. No one has been duped by me. Saddharathana Thera stated, “I am speaking from the heart.

Pastor Jerome Fernando is also being investigated for allegedly insulting Buddhism, and comedian Natasha Edirisuriya, who the CID detained for “insulting Buddhism,” has been remanded in detention.

The administration has claimed that certain organisations have appeared around the nation to disgrace it.

According to reports, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to create a special police unit to look into and take action against organisations that disrupt religious unity in the nation.

Read More: Buddhism: Exploring the Many Facets of Buddha’s Teachings

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