Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Parliamentary Group Leader Venerable Athureliya Rathna Thera yesterday said if the leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe is concerned about propagating Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka, he should first of all cancel the membership with the International Democrat Union (IDU).
Addressing a press conference at the Jayasekara Ramaya in Colombo, he said the IDU is the Freedom International, a working association of over 80 Conservative, Christian Democrat and like minded political parties.
Rathna Thera questions how he (Ranil) could speak of Theravada Buddhism while engaged in a union like IDU. `We openly ask him to leave this organization,` he added.
The Thera also expressed concern over UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya being the contact person of IDU in Sri Lanka.
Citing the killing of Lt. Col. Tuan Meendin, he said despite claims by the UNP that they were responsible in bringing an agreement with the LTTE, following the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA); the LTTE had killed 17 officers of the Intelligent Division and 64 other members.
The Thera also said that certain sections of the UNP were on a campaign that if Premier Mahinda Rajapakse wins they would introduce the Anti Conversion Bill. Rathna Thera questioned as to whether the UNP accepted forcible conversions and propagates freedom of religion.
JHU Central Committee Member Ven. Mavarale Baddiya Thera and JHU Parliamentarian Akmemana Dayaratne also spoke.