What’s in a name?

Southasia - - BRIEFINGS -

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.

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