Aug 11, Colombo: Opposition Leader of Sri Lanka and the leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), Ranil Wickremasinghe said that the government has planned to bring new laws that may affect the Buddhist order and the temples.
Addressing a meeting held at the Youth Services Centre auditorium in Maharagama Saturday, the UNP leader stated that the government's attempt to amend the temples and religious sites act is unconstitutional.
He explained that under the proposed amendments, instead of the current Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs a new post of Buddhist Commissioner General will be created and vested that person with the powers of the Commissioner.
The Opposition Leader charged that the amendments would allow the Commissioner General to take the powers the Ministry of Buddhist Affairs and the Chief Prelates now have into his hand.
Wickremasinghe said the UNP in 1978 created the post of Commissioner and the Commissioner does not have executive powers. The powers are vested with the chief prelates. But with the government's move the Commissioner General will be empowered to make important decisions regarding registration of Buddhist temples and their functioning.
He said the government's proposed amendments will take the authority of Buddhist temples from the Maha Sangha and give to government officials and it's a violation of the Constitution.
The UNP leader defined the government's move as militarizing the Buddhist order.