“Racial and religious conflicts have been created to gain political power throughout history. It seems that the persecution of Buddhism is part of a conspiracy to gain power,” Father Cyril Gamini Fernando, media spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Colombo said at a press conference held. at the Archbishop’s house on May 31.
Also, “We do not approve of insulting religious beliefs and their founders. Respecting all religions is the duty and responsibility of every citizen living in a civilized society. We completely condemn insulting any religion.” also said.
Responding to the inappropriate verbal statements made by some groups in a way that insults Buddhism and other religions, Father Cyril Gamini said that the statements of some people are part of a political conspiracy.
Therefore, the Catholic Church asked the people to be aware of certain politicians and political groups who seek to “profit from such statements”.
He said that such parties had made use of certain individuals, the media, and social media platforms in a planned manner to achieve their objectives.
“The religious issues that are emerging at present also seem to be a part of such a conspiracy. In the end, those who gain power through these issues will become rich and spend luxurious lives, and the people who fight with each other by prying into these conspiracies will become extremely helpless.”
“Therefore, we emphasize that it is the responsibility of the Police and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to carry out a transparent, fair, and independent inquiry into these incidents and to reveal the truth about the individuals in question and the other parties behind them,” Father Gamini said.
“Knowingly or unknowingly, they are also trying to create conflicts among the public. Circulating false information is also a misuse of freedom of expression. For instance, the reports by certain media institutions that a comedy show during which one questionable statement regarding Buddhism was made was held at an auditorium of a Catholic girls’ school is totally false,” added Father Gamini.
Last weekend police arrested Jayani Natasha Edirisuriya, a 31-year-old woman stand-up comedian for disrespecting Buddha and ridiculing Buddhist girls as virgins. By now another person related to the same has been arrested.
The country’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is investigating the charges against her and a similar allegation against Pastor Jerome Fernando, a Protestant pastor.
Jayani Natasha Edirisuriya is accused of disrespecting Buddha during her performance at a show titled ‘ Modabhimana ‘ (Fools’ Pride) after her video went viral on social media creating some public outrage.
Jayani Natasha said that protecting the virginity of Buddhist girls “is the biggest goal” for Buddhist-run schools inviting the wrath of Buddhist monks, critics, and a section of the media in the country.
There are two types of people commenting on her statements. Some people agree with her saying that she has not insulted any of the religions or their founders.
At the same time, some people said that through her presentation she had shown “a lack of understanding and disrespected Buddhist philosophy and culture in the country.”
Also, several civil society organizations have also expressed their opposition to the politicization of incidents like those involving the pastor and comedian.
Lawyer Manoj Nanayakkara, rights activist Jayani Abeysekera and Dr. Chamal Sanjeeva, representing the People’s Tomorrow organization, strongly protested the imprisonment of Edirisuriya under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
They said that arresting people in violation of freedom of speech and expression and using the ICCPR Act for that is a misuse of an international convention for the protection of civil and political rights.
Meanwhile, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) stated that it is currently monitoring the incidents that have allegedly insulted religions and the responses made with regard to such in the wake of such incidents.
“We are in the process of discussing these incidents. We are monitoring the situation, and closely studying the developments. When the BASL’s Executive Committee meets, we will make a decision on such incidents. It will probably happen towards the middle of next week, ” BASL President, Kaushalya Navaratne told the media.
Amnesty International, which says that “Section 3(1) of the ICCPR Act has been used from time to time to restrict freedom of expression, calls for the comedian’s release and the charges against her to be dropped immediately.
The Catholic Church of Sri Lanka warns against attempts by certain groups to create differences between religions
“Throughout history, ethnic and religious conflicts have been created to gain political power. Harassment of Buddhism appears to be part of a conspiracy to gain power,” said Father Cyril Gamini, media spokesperson of the Colombo Archdiocese, at a press conference held at the Archbishop’s residence on May 31.
Also, “We do not condone insulting religious beliefs and religious scholars. Respecting all religions is the duty and responsibility of every citizen living in a civilized society. We completely condemn insulting any religion.” also said.
Father Cyril Gamini said, “The statements of some people are part of a political conspiracy” in response to the recent inappropriate verbal statements made by some groups insulting Buddhism and other religions.
So, watch out for certain politicians and political groups who seek to profit from such statements The Catholic Church asked the people .
He said that such parties have systematically used certain people, media and social media platforms to achieve their goals.
“Religious issues that are currently emerging seem to be part of such a conspiracy. In the end, those who gain power from these issues will become rich and live luxurious lives, while the people who fight among themselves because of these conspiracies will end up helpless.”
“We therefore emphasize that it is the responsibility of the police and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to conduct a transparent, fair and independent investigation into these incidents and reveal the truth about the people involved and other parties behind it.” Father Gamini said.
“Knowingly or unknowingly, they are trying to create conflicts between the people. Spreading false information and misusing the freedom of expression. For example, some media outlets report that a comedy show that made a questionable statement about Buddhism was held in an auditorium of a Catholic girls’ school. Father Gamini further said that it is false.
Jayani Natasha Edrisuriya, a 31-year-old stand-up comedian, was arrested by the police last weekend for disrespecting Buddha and mocking Buddhist girls as virgins. At present, another person related to it has been arrested.
The country’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is investigating the allegations against her and a similar allegation against a Protestant pastor, Pastor Jerome Fernando.
Jayani Natasha Edrisuriya has been accused of disrespecting Buddha in a program called ‘Modabhimana’ (Pride of Fools), sparking public outrage after its video went viral on social media.
Jayani Natasha’s claim that “protecting the virginity of Buddhist girls” is the greatest goal of Buddhist schools drew the ire of Buddhist monks, commentators and the country’s small media.
At the same time, some said that her presentation showed her “ingenuity and respect for Buddhist philosophy and the country’s culture”.
In addition, several civil organizations have also expressed their protest regarding the politicization of the events related to Pastor Jerome and Natasha.
Lawyer Manoj Nanayakkara, rights activist Jayani Abeysekara and Dr. Chamal Sanjeeva representing the People’s Tomorrow organization strongly protested the imprisonment of Natasha Edirisuriya under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
They said that using the ICCPR Act to arrest people in violation of freedom of speech and expression is a misuse of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Meanwhile, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka stated that they are currently keeping an eye on cases of alleged blasphemy and their responses to such cases.
“Amnesty International, which says Article 3(1) of the ICCPR Act has been repeatedly used to restrict freedom of expression, calls for Natasha’s release and the immediate dropping of the charges against her.