What’s in a name?
Acontroversy erupted when Sri Lankan Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne made some remarks that offended Jathika Hela Urumaya leader Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera. The PM had called Thera ‘a man in robes’. Angry supporters of the JHU – a political party led by Buddhist monks – held protests in front of the Prime Minister’s office and demanded an apology from the PM. Some even tried to enter the PM’s office and a monk was injured when the police tried to stop them.
Prime Minister Jayarante had to apologize to the Maha Sangha."I am a good Buddhist. I am extremely sorry if my remarks caused any distress to the clergy," he said. He also said he did not call the monk a ‘cheewaradari’ (man in robes) and claimed that, according to the latest Sinhala dictionary, compiled by the Ministry of Culture, the word is not derogatory.