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* Sri Lankan Minister claims Rs. 500 million in damages against extremist Buddhist group
Thu, May 8, 2014, 12:39 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 07, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen has filed lawsuit today against the extremist Buddhist group, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) claiming Rs. 500 million in compensation over the defamatory claims made against the Minister by the extremist organization.

The attorneys representing Minister Bathiyutheen have filed the lawsuit in Colombo District courts against the Secretary of BBS, Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero.

The action against Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara was filed since the BBS Secretary has not responded to the letters of demand sent by the Attorney - at- Law representing the Minister demanding either an apology or a sum of Rs. 500 million.

According to the statement released by the Minister, the case was filed at the Colombo District Court against the malicious, false and defamatory remarks that were made by Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero at a press conference held in Colombo on or around March 20th 2014.

During the press conference Ven. Gnanasara has alleged that the Minister is responsible for the destruction of the Wilpattu National Park.

The BBS secretary has claimed that the Minister has created an exclusive Muslim Zone from Wilpattu to Mannar and is attempting to create an 'Arab colony' in Sri Lanka in the Mannar-Wilpattu area.

The monk has also claimed that Minister Bathiyutheen was a person who attacks courts and obstructs the course of justice.

Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen said in his statement that he "repeatedly and categorically denied each and every assertion made by Ven. Gnanasara at all forums in order to make the public aware of the true and factual details of the said construction of the housing scheme."

"It is also asserted that the entire press conference and subsequent 'media drama' was created and motivated solely by the anti-Muslim, anti-Islamic agenda, a motive that Ven. Galagodaathe Gnanasara pursues," the statement said.

"The Minister through this action demands a sum of Rs 500 million from Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara as damages caused to him and his reputation as a result of the false, malicious and defamatory remarks made against the Hon. Minister at the said press conference," the statement said.

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