CID grills BBS monk for four hours

Thursday, 3 July 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Monk says officials were cordial

  • CID officers question Gnanasara Thero about his Aluthgama speech

  • No information to give about violence after rally: BBS CEO

  • Police to record statements of two BBS speakers at controversial rally

 Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero (right) leaving the Crime Investigation Division (CID) after the monk’s statement on the incidents that occurred in Aluthgama was recorded by the CID – Pic by Nisal Baduge
Controversial Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero was interrogated by the CID for four hours yesterday, as calls mount for action against the monk for allegedly inciting religious violence during a rally in Aluthgama two weeks ago. Bodu Bala Sena Chief Executive Officer Dilantha Withanage told the Daily FT that the monk was taken in for “thorough” questioning at 2 p.m. and released by the CID at 6:20 p.m. “They asked him about his speech in Aluthgama and recorded his statement,” Withanage explained. He added that while the CID had posed questions to the controversial monk about the violence that erupted following the BBS rally, Gnanasara Thero had been unable to offer any information. “We had nothing to do with those incidents, so we had no information to share,” Withanage said. Gnanasara Thero had been “thoroughly” questioned, the BBS official said, while the monk insisted following the interrogation that CID officials had been cordial. The monk told media personnel that he had informed CID officials that it was SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem and former Deputy Mayor of Colombo Azath Sally, who were responsible for inciting religious tensions in the country. Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said the monk had been questioned about his speech by the CID, and added that Sihala Ravaya monk Akmeemana Dayaratne Thero had also been interrogated and statements recorded on 30 June. “Many questions were asked about his speech at the rally and what happened afterwards,” SSP Rohana added. The Police Spokesman said that the statements of at least two BBS members who made speeches at the rally would be recorded by the CID. Violent religious clashes in Aluthgama and Beruwala on 15 June, soon after a Bodu Bala Sena rally left four dead and scores injured and caused widespread damage to property, much of it owned by Muslim residents in the area. In a speech at the rally peppered with derogatory remarks about Muslims, Gnanasara Thero vowed to “finish” anyone who laid a finger on the skin of a Sinhalese and threatened to “end” Dharga Town, where most of the violence took place, “within a single night”. Muslim Ministers, politicians and civil society groups pleaded with the authorities to prevent the BBS meeting from going ahead on 15 June, after tensions had already flared in the area following an alleged assault of a Buddhist monk and his driver in the area by three Muslim youth on Poson Day. The attack on the monk was never proven with medical records, but the Government and the Police have persisted in alluding to the assault in reference to the subsequent rioting three days later.