By Zacki Jabbar
The Mahanayakes have raised the issue of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) leader Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thera, imprisoned for threatening the widow of cartonist Prageeth Ekneligoda with President Maithripala Sirisena, but the government said yesterday that special treatment for one prisoner could lead to others demanding same.
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, addressing the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing at the Information Department, said that there were 18 priests serving prison sentences for various offences, some of which were of a very serious nature. “Fifteen of them are Buddhists while the other three are from the Hindu, Muslim and Christian faiths. If Gnanasara Thera is pardoned or given any special treatment, then the others would also want similar relief.”
Asked why Gnanasara Thera had been made to wear the prison uniform, Senaratne said that should have been asked when Somarama Thera was serving his term for killing Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike.
He pointed out that the authorities were only following the established practice and to make an exception in the case of the BBS leader, the law would have to be changed.
Admitting that the Mahanayakes had interceded on behalf of Gnanasara Thera with President Sirisena, the Minister said that he was not aware of the outcome of the talks.