Sri Lanka: Colombo HC Sentences Firebrand Buddhist Monk Galagodatte Gnanasara for Islamophobic Remarks

Galagodatte Gnanasara

The Colombo High Court on Thursday sentenced Galagodatte Gnanasara, a Sri Lankan Buddhist majority hardliner monk to four years of imprisonment for his Islamophobic remarks made in 2016.
Judge Aditya Patabendige also imposed a fine of Rs. 100,000 on the Buddhist monk.
Galagodatte Gnanasara, known for his fiery rhetoric, had been leading an anti-Muslim minority campaign since 2012. He faced charges for comments uttered during a press conference held in March 2016.
During the previous court session in mid-February, the monk expressed remorse to the Muslim community for the distress caused by his public statements.
The High Court concluded that Gnanasara, leader of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), had incited religious and communal discord through his remarks.
In 2018, Gnanasara was apprehended for contempt of court but subsequently received a presidential pardon. He clarified later that his grievances were not against the Muslim minority but rather stemmed from dissatisfaction with Sinhala majority politicians’ failure to address the community’s issues, which he sought to tackle through the BBS movement.
The monk was found guilty on two counts outlined in indictments filed by the Attorney General, related to complaints lodged with the Criminal Investigations Department by former Governor Azath Salley and former parliamentarian Mujibur Rahuman, as per sources.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte