New chair person for Sri Lanka - India Buddhist Association

Daily Mirror, Jan 22, 2009

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Ven. Athuraliye Ratana Thera has been elected the Chairperson of the Indo-Sri Lanka Buddhist Friendship Association. This election took place following a series of Buddhist ceremonies that took place from January 10 to 11, in Nandedi, Maharashtra.

The series of events was held for the twenty-second time, to mark the mass conversion to Buddhism that took place on the day of Vesak in 1956 to coincide with the 2500th Buddha Jayanthi.

One hundred thousand people from the Dalit (Untouchable) community embraced Buddhism, led by the main architect of the Indian Constitution, Bhimrao Ramji (Babasahib) Ambedkar.

This year's celebration saw the attendance of over two hundred thousand Buddhist pilgrims. Ven. Muddalakkuliye Ratanajothi Thera, Ven. Kimbulapitiye Saddhananda Thera and Bukkhuni Kusuma were among the Sri Lankan delegation.India has seen a Buddhist revival in the past decade, when every year thousands of Dalits embrace Buddhism.