The Four Mahanyakes of the three Nikayas in a stern message to President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday called for the immediate release of General (retd.) Sarath Fonseka and other Army personnel who had been taken into custody.
Drawing the President’s attention to the historic role the Maha Sangha had played in solving rifts between the leader of the country and those who held opposite views, the four Mahanayakes said: “We cannot approve the arrest of Gen. Fonseka and other Army personnel who were with him. They have risked their lives to eliminate terrorism and played a major role in creating peace. Comments made by Gen. Fonseka as a presidential candidate should not lead him to be arrested.”
The letter was signed by the Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter, the Most. Ven. Thibbotuvawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera, the Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter, the Most. Ven. Udugama Sri Buddha Rakhitha Thera, the Mahanayake of the Amarapura Nikaya, the Most. Ven. Davuldena Gnanissara Thera and the Mahanayaka of the Ramanna Nikaya, the Most. Ven. Veweldeniye Medhalankara Thera.
The Mahanayakes in their letter, issued ahead of Thursday’s crucial meeting of the Maha Sangha in Kandy said that if the government was able to accept and offer ministerial posts to Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan (alias Karuna) and Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (alias Pillayan) who were once members of the terrorist organization, the government should definitely release General Fonseka and the others and provide them maximum security as they had made sacrifices in the battlefield to protect the lives of all Sri Lankans.
The Mahanayakes noted that during the 30-year war several Bhikku’s were murdered and the Sri Maha Bodhi and the Dalada Maligawa were attacked while the terrorists continued with their atrocities, killing thousands of military personnel and civilians.
“It is difficult to promote peace and ensure democracy and good governance when there is a rift between the President, the Defence Secretary and former Army chief Fonseka,” the prelates said in their letter.
Citing an example from history, the Mahanayakes said that the Maha Sangha were able to resolve the dispute between King Dutugemunu and his brother Prince Tissa.
“Today, the people strongly believe that the Maha Sangha should play a major role in creating peace in our motherland,” the statement said.