Sunday Observer
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Sunday, 14 November 2004  
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Mihintalava - The Birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhist Civilization

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Govt. - LTTE Ceasefire Agreement

Government - Gazette

Daily News

Budusarana On-line Edition

Monks to gain full control of JHU

by Jayantha Sri Nissanka and Rohan Mathes

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Constitutional amendments are expected to give more powers to the monks sidelining the laymen in the party.

Political analysts believe that it could split the party forcing the radical Sinhala Buddhist laymen in the party to form a party of their own or join other parties following the pattern set by former Sihala Urumaya leader Thilak Karunaratne.

Three prominent persons Prof. Buddadasa Hewavitarana, Prof. Chandra Wikremage and another member were involved in preparing amendments to the JHU Constitution. We expect that amendments to be released in a week, Ven. Athuraliye Ratana Thera told the Sunday Observer yesterday but declined to comment on the problems that confronted them.

However, laymen in the party expressed dissatisfaction over minimising their role in the party giving veto power to monks. They fear that the JHU will face the same fate as the Sihala Urumaya.

The dissenting JHU members last week witnessed an ugly development when a poster campaign was launched against Ven. Athuraliye Ratana and Champika Ranawaka. Posters in Colombo said that the Champika and Ratana gang which destroyed the Sihala Urumaya should be kicked out of the party to save the Party from a possible collapse.

When contacted members opposing Ven. Ratana and Champika expected the new amendments to the Party Constitution would resolve the General-Secretary post tussle giving it to a monk in the party.

The sidelined JHU member Champika Ranawaka said he would carry forward ideals of the National Movement despite the conspiracies of the reactionary forces.

Former stalwart and Secretary of the Sihala Urumaya and JHU member Champika Ranawaka told the Sunday Observer that the JHU was in a state of chaos needing reforms due to various reactionary forces, including the Government and the UNP trying to destroy the fabric of the only Sangha led party in the country working in the interest of the Sinhala Buddhists, and totally opposed to the LTTE's ISGA and Federalism.

He charged the government of trying to disrupt Ven. Apparakke Thera's case which is now in the Supreme Court and gain political advantage.

He also accused the government and certain other parties with vested interest, of acting as a catalyst to encourage a split within the JHU and the 'crossover'.

"All the six Parliamentarian monks have veto power now, leaving minimal powers to the lay members. "I will however carry forward the social movement and ideals forward, irrespective of posts in the party", desperate Ranawaka noted.

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