Bodu Bala Sena should be banned! : Commission of Inquiry into the Easter Attack

According to the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Easter attacks activities of organizations such as the Bodu Bala Sena have created a more conducive environment for people like Saharan to establish their dominance.
The report of the commission states that although the founders of religious based extremist organizations try to portray themselves as  humanitarian and patriotic, it is clear from a realistic view of what they speak, act, and propagate on social media that they are really not such people. The report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry also states that their intentions, behaviors and actions create rivalries between communities.
The Commission of Inquiry was appointed during Maithripala Sirisena’s presidency to investigate and report on the April 21, 2019 bombings and to take necessary action. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who came to power thereafter, also extended the term of the Commission on several occasions and its final its final reports were submitted to the President on January 31.
Supreme Court Judge Janath de Silva was the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry into the Easter Attack. The Commission consisted of Judge of the Court of Appeal Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne, Judge of the Court of Appeal Nihal Sunil Rajapaksa (retired), High Court Judge Bandula Kumara Atapattu (retired) and Ministerial Secretary W.M.M.R. Adhari.
What the report state about contribution of Buddhist groups to extremism:
“Since the end of the war, anti-Muslim sentiments have been on the rise in the country by a number of Buddhist monks, extremists and social media activists, and there have been several violent incidents of anti-Muslim intentions.
“In June 2014, a series of organized acts of violence were carried out in Aluthgama Dharga Town, Welipenna and Beruwala areas in the Kalutara District. Violence against Muslims took place in the Gintota area in the Galle District in 2017, with two major incidents in 2018 – in Ampara on February 27, and a series of attacks against Muslims in the Digana and Teldeniya areas in March.”
The Easter Commission report also states that the law was not enforced against such Buddhist extremist groups.
 “Also, extremist Buddhist groups such as the Bodu Bala Sena should have been opposed and that there were opportunities to enforce the law against the hate speech made by Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero, but it was not done,” the report reveals.
Commenting on the activism of certain organizations, the Commission states;
“The Commission of Inquiry has studied information on certain Buddhist and other religious organizations, recommends that the Bodu Bala Sena be banned and monitoring the activities of other religious organizations closely, the Commission has recommended the legal action to be taken, if any extremist activities take place.”
The Commission has observed that Sinhala Ravaya, Mahason Balakaya and Sinhala National Force (Sinhala Jathika Balamuluwa) are anti-social or extremist organizations.
Chapter 22 of this Commission’s Report entitled ‘Supporting Factors’ discusses those who have caused racial and religious unrest, those who support such acts in the country, those who disrupt social unrest and social order, and those who cause racial unrest. In the chapter, the General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena, Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero is also mentioned.
“This Thero is the Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena. The organization was founded in 2012. These monks were at the forefront of the movement to recognize the threat posed to the country by Wahabism. As previously mentioned in the report, the Gnanasara Thero has been proved to be correct in this regard. But his words did not stop at Wahab ideology, but targeted the Muslim community in general.
“However, some of the actions and statements of Gnanasara Thero have led Muslim youth to extremism and to join the Saharan. Evidence has emerged that Saharan used his speeches and actions to gain support for his cause. In the last video made by Saharan, the actions of Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero are given as reasons for the attacks.
“Mutual radicalization is the cycle of radicalization that promotes each other’s radicalization ideologies. The radicalization of the Muslim youth was the result of the actions of Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera.
“The Commission of Inquiry heard the insulting remarks made by Ven. Gadagodaththe Gnanasara Thero in Maharagama on February 17, 2014 and Aluthgama on the day after the Poya Day in June 2014.
“The Commission recommends that the Attorney General should consider the possibility of filing a criminal case against Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero, in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) No. 56 of 2007 for speeches made in Maharagama on 17th February 2014 and in Aluthgama on the day following Poya Day in June 2014. Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero has also partially contributed to the radicalization of Muslim youth.
“The Commission of Inquiry is of the view that the activities of the Bodu Bala Sena are a threat to religious harmony and should be banned.”
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