Sri Lanka president asks allies not to support bill to ban Buddhist monks entering politics

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-7-4 18:45:52

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday informed the parties of his ruling coalition to vote against the proposed bill by an opposition legislator to bar Buddhist monks from politics.

Rajapaksa issued this direction following a discussion with the Buddhist party, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), one of the government allies, said an official from the presidential office.

Last month a leading lawyer and main opposition United National Party (UNP) MP Wijedasa Rajapaksa brought a private member proposal to the parliament to ban the clergy contesting elections.

The proposal created controversy as parliamentarians from the JHU, political party led by Buddhist monks with three out of 225 seats in the parliament, dismissed Wijedasa's proposal as one with an ulterior motive.

Wijedasa told Xinhua that it was a disgrace to the 70 percent majority Buddhists in the country as there is a serious decline in discipline among the Buddhist clergies in politics.

"The Buddhist leaders in the country opposed when the monks decided to enter politics and go to parliament eight years ago. But now we see that unfortunate repercussion of it," he said.

Wijedasa warned that the clergies from other religions were also planning to enter politics and the situation would lead to a religious war in future in the multi-religious country.

Meanwhile former army commander and failed presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka had said that Sri Lanka parliament was not a place for monks.

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