Gnanasara Thera Sentenced to Four Years' Imprisonment for Controversial Statements on Kuragala Monastery

The Colombo High Court has handed down a significant verdict, sentencing Bodubala Sena (BBS) Organization Leader, Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera, to four years of rigorous imprisonment. The sentence stems from contentious remarks made at a press conference regarding the Kuragala ancient Buddhist Monastery, which were deemed to have violated inter-ethnic and religious harmony.

In addition to the prison term, Ven. Gnanasara has been fined Rs. 100,000 for both charges. After a meticulous trial process, Judge Adithya Patabendige affirmed that the prosecution successfully substantiated the allegations against the accused.

The Judge emphasized that the statements made by Ven. Gnanasara during the press conference were not trivial, but rather intentionally provocative. Consequently, the High Court ordered two years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 50,000 for each charge, to be served separately, totaling four years of imprisonment and a Rs. 100,000 fine for both charges combined. Failure to pay the fine would result in an additional two years' imprisonment.

Ven. Gnanasara, in his defense, expressed regret from the dock, asserting that the controversial remarks were isolated and not intended to disparage any faith, particularly Islam. He sought forgiveness from the Muslim community if his words had caused offense.

The case was initiated by the Attorney General following a complaint lodged by Azad Sally against the statements made by Ven. Gnanasara at the press conference held between November 1, 2016, and December 16, 2016. State Counsel Lakmali Dissanayake represented the Attorney General in the proceedings.

This verdict underscores the judiciary's commitment to upholding social harmony and underscores the significance of responsible discourse in sensitive matters concerning religion and ethnicity within society.

In conclusion, the sentencing of Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera to four years' rigorous imprisonment for his controversial statements marks a significant legal outcome in the realm of inter-ethnic and religious harmony. The verdict, handed down by the Colombo High Court, underscores the gravity of intentionally provocative remarks and reaffirms the judiciary's dedication to upholding social cohesion and responsible discourse.

While Ven. Gnanasara expressed regret for any offense caused, the legal process has underscored the importance of accountability and the consequences of actions that undermine communal harmony. As the case concludes, it serves as a reminder of the necessity for respectful dialogue and understanding among diverse communities in Sri Lanka. Moving forward, it is imperative for all individuals, regardless of religious or ethnic affiliation, to foster mutual respect and tolerance, thereby contributing to a more harmonious and inclusive society.