Sri Lankan Buddist monk alleges Indian interference in Lankan politics

Pahiyangala Thero, a prominent Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka, alleged that India interferes when it comes to selecting new administration in Sri Lanka, News 1st reported

Feb 05, 2021
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Pahiyangala Thero, a prominent Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka, alleged that India interferes when it comes to selecting new administration in Sri Lanka, News 1st reported. He went further saying the country wanted to take control of important sites in Sri Lanka.

Politicians in northern and eastern areas in Sri Lanka, he said, are controlled by India. Citing the example of the Palaly House project, funded by India, Thero said India is constructing houses at its own whims and fancies, and not according to the requirements of the Sri Lankan government.

Under its development assistance to Tamil dominated areas in the northern and eastern parts, India funded the construction of 41,000 houses; among them, 40732 have already been completed, according to the data available on the website of the Indian Consulate in Jaffna. 

Besides that, India is also funding major development projects, including the upgradation of the Palaly International Airport, and other sites of cultural importance.

The monk alleged that India’s plans are in motion to take control of these sites through development programs. “Sri Lanka Police, Army, or even a ministry official will not be able to enter the premises as they are forcibly taking over areas key to the country,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

The Buddist monk didn’t stop there, went further saying India, after failing to get control of the ECT port, is now trying to get a majority stake in the West Container Terminal in Colombo.  

“True independence is when Sri Lankans can celebrate independence in the Port City, ECT, WCT, and even at the Fuel Storage Terminal in Trincomalee,” he said. His criticism of alleged Indian influence appears motivated as he very smartly missed mentioning the Colombo International Container Terminal (CITC) where China has a whopping 85 percent controlling stake.

Several Buddist organizations and trade unions in Sri Lanka, in recent years, have upped the ante against the ECT deal, where India and Japan were jointly supposed to get a 49 percent stake. Under pressure, the Sri Lankan Cabinet on Monday scrapped the 2019 tripartite agreement on the ECT. 

Recently, after scrapping the ECT deal, the Sri Lankan government reportedly offered the West Container Terminal to India and Japan. India and Japan both are in the view that the Chinese are behind scuttling the ECT deal by financing some of these protests.

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