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 Post subject: Uduwe Dhammloka, the JHU monk crossed over to UNP
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:59 am 
Quote:
Uduwe Dhammloka, the JHU monk crossed over to UNP

Neither Mahinda nor Ranil have a clean slate but I have told Ranil what his weaknesses are – Uduwe Dhammloka

@ By Anne Rodrigo - Asian Tribune
30 Oct2005




Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera said both Presidential candidates have their own weakness. Despite this he considers Wickremesinghe as capable of managing the country better, especially when it comes to ending the ethnic conflict and improving the economy.


Colombo, 30 October, (Asiantribune.com):Uduwe Dhammaloka thera who led Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) on an anti-UNP-LTTE campaign crossed over on Thursday to support the leader of the opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe. Branding the JHU he led earlier as “extremists” the Thera told the Asian Tribune that “extremists elements in Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse’s camp - - obviously referring to JHU and the Marxist JVP -- will block the Premier from winning the presidential election.”

In the initial campaign against the UNP Dhammaloka Thera insisted that the government should initiate legislation to put an end to controversial unethical conversions in the country. Subsequently, the anti conversion bill was presented in Parliament, but the Supreme Court ruled that the bill violates human rights. Since then the bill has been shelved. It is now before a Parliamentary Standing Committee to propose alternative recommendations.

After crossing over the Thera says that the anti-conversion bill is just a “meaningless piece of legislation”. He said unethical conversion cannot be stopped by bringing in laws. Instead it should be sorted out through discussion with all religious leaders, he said.

“The country is already is facing an ethnic conflict. The last thing we want now is a religious conflict,” the Thera said in an interview with the Asian Tribune. “It is not only Buddhism that should be safeguarded but all the religions in the country”.

The Thera said both Presidential candidates have their own weakness. Despite this he considers Wickremesinghe as capable of managing the country better, especially when it comes to ending the ethnic conflict and improving the economy.

Dismissing JHU allegations that he betrayed the party by supporting Wickremesinghe, the Thera said the same accusation can be leveled at the party because they have pledged to support the Prime Minister.

Dhammaloka Thera added that neither Wickremesinghe nor Rajapakse have a clean slate. But Wickremesinghe “is comparatively okay”. Asked what weaknesses he saw in Wickremesinghe as a leader, the thera said he would rather keep mum on it since it would provide ammunition for the Wickremesinghe rival to fire at his opponent,” “I have confided in Wickremesinghe what his weaknesses are,” he said.

Following are some excerpts :

Question: On what basis did you decide that Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe would be a better leader than Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse?

Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera: There were basically two factors that I considered before pledging my support. The first is the economic factor and the other is the ethnic conflict. I think Wickremesinghe has offered very practical proposals on developing the economy than the Premier. One significant factor when it comes to the ethnic conflict is that Wickremesinghe is hoping to go for a referendum before reaching a final solution. The matter would be taken up at the political level first among the leaders of both parties and later will put before the people for them to decide what kind a final solution it should be. This is how a democracy works. The door for dialogue should be wide open.

Question: Do you mean that Premier is not capable of sorting out the ethnic conflict?

Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera: I would not say no straightaway. He is a good Buddhist. But I have my doubts about the extremist elements that is in his coalition. They will not let the Premier sort out the two main problems in the country.

Question: Once elected the Executive President, don’t you think he could really work in the way he wants?

Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera: May be he will. But there are bound to be problems with the electoral agreements he has entered into with the extremist parties. At the end of the day the country will suffer. Neither Wickremesinghe nor Rajapakse are having a clean slate. But Wickremesinghe is comparatively a good leader.

Question: What kind of weaknesses do you see in Wickremesinghe?

Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera: I would rather not say it since it would provide ammunition for the Wickremesinghe rival to fire at his opponent. I have confided in Wickremesinghe what his weaknesses are. Going public about the weaknesses will not get us anywhere. What is important is to set them right.

Question:Your former party JHU rode to power insisting on the need to stop unethical conversion taking place in the country. There is proposed bill on addressing the issue. Do you think laws will sort out the issue?

Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera:the anti-conversion bill is just a “meaningless piece of legislation”. He said unethical conversion can not be stopped by bringing in laws, instead it should be sorted out through discussion with all religious leaders.

The country is already is facing an ethnic conflict. The last thing we want now is a religious conflict. It is not only Buddhism that should be safeguarded but all the religions in the country.

Question: But it is the JHU led by you that brought the anti-conversion bill into Parliament. Does mean that you have changed your mind after crossing over?

Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera: I was under this impression right through out. In fact I hardly knew the content of the bill before it was presented in Parliament. It was prepared by Omalpe Rathana thera. I was informed only when it had been sent to Parliament.

Question: Did you seek the post of the Director General of the Buddhist Affairs Authority proposed by you under a Wickremesinghe Presidency?

Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera: I did not say it should be only me. I have no objection for any suitable person occupying the post. But I maintained that the Buddhist affairs Ministry should come under the purview of the President of the Prime Minister.

Question: JHU is alleging you of betraying the party by pledging support to Wickremesinghe. Comment?

Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera: I have not done anything wrong. The decision was taken on behalf of safeguarding Buddhism. If I have betrayed the party by supporting Wickremesinghe they have done the same by pledging support to the Prime Minister.


Quote:
Dhammloka Mahattaya, Manussaya and Mr.Dhammaloka

@ lankaenews / 30Oct2005

(Oct 28, 5.00 pm) Uduwe Dhammaloka Mahattaya, that man, Mr.Dhammaloka were the terms used by Minister Mangala Samaraweera at a press briefing today (28) at the Foundation Insttute to refer to Uduwe Dhammaloka thera when he replied to a question about the thera's decision to support UNP candidate Ranil Wikremesinghe at this presidential election.

Samaraweera who paid scant respect to Uduwe thera initially later apologized for his rude remarks. 'Uduwe thera has always been aided by bookie owner Thilanga Sumathipala and Maharaja Organization' Samaraweera claimed.

'There is nothing new in his decision to back Ranil. The thera was already in the UNP' Samaraweera added.

'Dhammaloka thera tried to gain something from us. He put forward 17 points. This man wanted the Buddha Sasana Ministry, Youth Affairs Ministry and Social Services Ministry. He asked for all three portfolios. The Premier did not concede to these demands. We just can't comprehend uduwe Dhammaloka's interest in youth. We simplay cant's give these. We will not offer Youth Affairs Ministry to Mr.Dhammaloka. He wants us to replace Buddha Sasana Ministry with a Buddha Sasana Authority and asked us to appoint him as its Director General. An Authority is an affront to Buddhism. It is even against principles of Buddhism' the Minister said.



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