Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday joined in the criticism against remarks by a senior member of the Buddhist Clergy, calling on former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to “be like Hitler”, saying he would have condemned the statement immediately if it had been made in his presence.
“There is no way Buddhism and Hitler’s brutality can be reconciled,” said the Premier addressing crowds at an event in Matara yesterday, “as Buddhists such a thing is against our dhamma.” “Buddhists cannot tell someone to be like Idi Amin or Hitler or Pol-Pot, it goes against the Buddha’s teachings,” he added.
Democratic rule is about gathering peacefully, discussing matters peacefully and dispersing peacefully, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said. The Premier said that if such a remark had been made in his presence, the media would have ripped him apart. “They would have attacked me from morning till night,” he said with a chuckle. “I am shocked that this didn’t happen. Only one newspaper even carried the story. Electronic media carried the story only once. In print, editorials and news stories went missing. If this is how the media behaves now, imagine what would happen to the media if ‘Hitler’ was in power?” the Premier quipped.
At religious ceremony to mark the 69th birthday of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter Ven Wendaruwe Upali Thero suggested that the former powerful defence official should “be like Hitler and establish military rule to develop the country.”The monk clarified his remarks in an official statement issued yesterday, saying he only meant that the country needed strong policy, and did not mean that rulers should behave brutally like Hitler.
The appropriate reaction to a recent statement by a senior monk to ‘be like Hitler’ would have been to condemn the remarks Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe vehemently condemned the statement by Anunayake of Asgiriya Chapter Ven. Wendaruwe Upali Thera where it was suggested that the Former Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa should form a military regime in the country like Hitler.
Addressing the 125th-anniversary celebrations of the Maha Manthindana Pirivena in Matara last evening premier further stated that Hitler and Buddhism are two things that can never be reconciled. “If someone said to be like Hitler in my presence I would have condemned the statement then and there. Print media editorials and news items on the Hitler remarks have gone missing. it appears only once on electronic media. if the media is like this now what will happen to the media if Hitler comes to power?” premier questioned. While stating that Hitler ensured the complete whitewash of Buddhists in Germany back in 1930 went on to say that Buddha never preached anyone to be like Hitler. “We can have different political opinions, that’s accepted. but, we cannot ask someone to be like Idi Amin, Polpot or Hitler. it should be condemned at the very outset,” Premier continued.