June 30, Colombo: The United States has cancelled the visa granted to the hardline Buddhist monk and the leader of extremist Buddhist organization Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, the BBS has said Monday.
"An official from the U.S. Embassy called Gnanasara thero on Friday and informed him that the State Department wants to convey him that he cannot use his existing visa to enter the United States," BBS spokesman Dilantha Vithanage has told Reuters by telephone.
The monk had been informed of the decision, the spokesman has said.
The U.S. had granted a five-year visa to the Thera before he formed the Bodu Bala Sena Organization in 2012.
However, when inquired, a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Colombo has declined to comment on the monk's visa saying that the U.S. government would not comment on individual visa cases.
The reported visa cancellation follows the cancellation of the organization's and its officials' Facebook accounts by the social media network.
Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera has been accused of delivering a fiery speech earlier this month that incited religious hatred and communal clashes between the Sinhala and Muslim residents in two southern coastal towns.
The Sri Lankan government has been criticized heavily for supporting the Thera and not arresting him for the communal clashes that killed four people and injured scores while the mobs on both sides burned shops and damaged properties of each other in the towns of Aluthgama, Beruwala and Dharga Town.
The government has allocated Rs. 200 million to repair and restore the damaged properties and entrusted the Army with the reconstruction.