Fasting monk defies Mahanayake's command

by Cyril Wimalasurendre, The Island, June 8, 2005

KANDY, Sri Lanka -- Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobitha, who launched fast-unto-death in front of Sri Dalada Maligawa yesterday (07), rejected a ?Sangagnawa? (command) issued by the Most Venerable Mahanayake of the Amarapura Maha Nikaya, Weligama Sri Guanaratna Thero, to give up his (Ven. Sobitha Thero's) fast-undo-death and limit the fast to a day or two.

The Mahanayake Thero blessed Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thero and gave the command which the Mahanayake Thero said was a very powerful order that a leading member of the Sangha could register.
Dr. Sobitha Thero rejecting the Sangagnawa (Command) urged the most Ven. Gnanaratna Mahanayake Thero to issue that command to President Chandrika Kumaratunge to retrain from entering into the vicious Joint Mechanism with the LTTE because the mechanism was highly dangerous to the integrity of the country and security of the people and the religion.
Dr. Sobitha Thero said that the Joint Mechanism vested enhanced powers in the LTTE terrorists and the destructions caused by them would be increased many fold.
"It is better to sacrifice my life for the sake of the people and the religion although life is important. Those trying to give additional powers to the terrorist group should be prevented from taking steps to give such powers to the LTTE.
Therefore, it is my humble request that the Mahanayake Thero would make the Sangagnawa (Command) on President Kumaratunge in order to save this land, the people and the Buddhasasana.
The Buddhists have lost the freedom to place a statue of the Buddha in this country where the Buddhasasana is protected and fostered by commitment of the Constitution under section 9, the Ven. Thero said.
Most Ven. Weligama Sri Gunaratna Mahanayake Thero said that he was making the command in order to save the life of a scholar monk of the calibre of Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thero.
The Mahanayake Thero urged Ven. Sobitha Thero to limit the Upawasaya (fast) to two or three days as a mark of protest against the Joint Mechanism and give up the fast-unto-death.
JHU, MP Ven. Udawatte Nanda Thero also spoke on the occasion.
Earlier in the day Ven. Keppetiyagoda Siriwimala Thero, Chief Incumbent of Rajopawanaramaya Getambe visited Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thero at the Mahamaluwa special dais.