Members of the powerful Buddhist clergy sought to defuse the ongoing political turmoil in Sri Lanka and urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to release arrested former army chief Sarath Fonseka.
Fonseka was arrested on February 8 on charges of conspiring, and sharing sensitive information with people apparently working against the government.
Monks from across the country wrote a joint letter to Rajapaksa, saying that Fonseka — and his arrested supporters — should be freed, given adequate security and treated leniently.
They said the conflict between Fonseka and the Rajapaksas — including defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa — was “becoming an obstacle to the forward march our nation.’’
They monks said that if the government could provide security and facilities to former Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres like V. Muralitharan or Karuna, it should do the same for Fonseka who had fought for the country.
Referring to former LTTE cadres Karuna, now a government minister, and S. Chandrakanthan, a provincial chief minister, the monks said: “They have been responsible for the massacre of our bhikkus, maiming and killing of military personnel and civilians and the attacks on the Sri Dalada Maligawa and the Sri Maha Bodhiya.’’