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 Post subject: Death fast by monk ends
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:28 pm 
JHU leader continues death fast

By J.A.L. Jayasinghe and
Shane Seneviratne

@ Photo Reuters - Tue Jun 7, 3:03 AM ET

JHU General Secretary Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera continued his fast unto death for the second day yesterday on a special dais at the Mahamaluwa of the Sri Dalada Maligawa.

The fasting monk was given moral support by eight other monks seated on the stage with him and by JHU members in Kandy and Colombo. JHU Parliamentary group leader Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera who hit the headlines when he intervened at the international donor meeting in Kandy last month vowed that the Ven. Sobitha Thera would continue the fast till President Chandrika Kumaratunga dropped her plan for a Joint Mechanism with the LTTE. The JHU installed a public address system on the stage with loud speakers but senior Kandy police officers objected saying the party had not obtained police permission. The monks asked the police whether they did not like to listen to seth pirith.

Later the Ven. Thibbotuwave Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter appealed to the Ven. Sobhitha Thera to call off his fast.

But the fasting monks and other JHU leaders told the Mahanayake to urge the President to withdraw the JM proposals and then the fast would be called off.

 Post subject: Sri Lanka monk ends 'death fast' in exchange for talks
 Post Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 6:35 pm 
Sri Lanka monk ends 'death fast' in exchange for talks

Copyright © 2005 Agence France Presse.


A Buddhist monk legislator called off a death fast, a day after Sri Lanka's president promised to consult the clergy amid growing opposition to her plan to share tsunami aid with Tiger rebels.

But a bigger threat to President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government loomed with a threat by the Marxist JVP party to pull out of the ruling coalition, setting the stage for its possible collapse, unless she abandons the aid-sharing plan by next Wednesday.

Opponents of the aid-sharing plan fear it will grant legitimacy to the rebels' separatist campaign.

Buddhist monk Omalpe Sobitha from the all-clergy National Heritage Party ended the fast on Saturday outside the Temple of the Tooth in the central town of Kandy, a protest organiser said.


Officials in Kumaratunga's office said the end to the monk's protest eased tension around the temple, regarded by Buddhists as one of their holiest shrines, but the threat to her government remained.

"The president is keen to go ahead and has already assured the monks the proposed joint mechanism with the Tigers was not a danger to the country's sovereignty," a spokesman for her office said.

However, he said a final decision on the deal was yet to be taken.

Kumaratunga assured the Buddhist hierarchy Friday she would not go ahead with the proposed deal with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) without consulting them.

"No dates have been decided to conclude the proposed Tsunami Relief Board," she said in a statement, referring to her controversial plan to share international aid with Tigers.

The Marxist JVP vowed Friday to block Kumaratunga's plan, saying it would grant recognition to the Tigers and dilute the authority of the state.

"We will leave the government on the 16th of June if the president does not withdraw the joint mechanism plan with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by the end of the 15th," JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe told reporters.

International donors have called for Colombo and the rebels to jointly disburse billions of dollars in tsunami aid.

Another group of monks backing the Marxists, meanwhile, launched another demonstration Saturday, with at least one monk staging a fast, a common protest tactic by the Buddhist clergy.

Any pullout by the JVP could lead to the collapse of Kumaratunga's administration, which depends on the 39 seats of the Marxists in the 225-member assembly for survival.

Some 31,000 people were killed in the December 26 tsunamis and one million people were left homeless. Much of the destruction was in the northeast, parts of which are dominated by the guerrillas.

Copyright © 2005 Agence France Presse.

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