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Releasing Gnanasara Thero was a good thing – Rajitha

Image credit: Ceylon Today

Endorsing the controversial pardoning of Ven. Gnanasara Thero, Health Minister and United National Party (UNP) Parliamentarian Rajitha Senaratne today said, given the former’s position of priesthood, releasing him from prison was the right thing to do.

“I think it’s actually a good thing to release such people, instead of keeping them under arrest and creating an opinion in the country – especially as a Buddhist monk,” he told RepublicNext on the sidelines of a press conference held at Temple Trees.

Recalling that he had personally objected to moves to defrock the Thero upon his imprisonment, Senaratne said the law shouldn’t be used in such matters.

“I said ‘whatever the law, don’t do such things.’ Don’t turn these matters into legal issues, even in the future,” he said.

“Gnanasara Thero used to attack me the most. He was the first to say I was corrupt. Of course, he later clarified the reasons for that. But despite all that, I did everything I could for him, since he is a Buddhist monk,” he added.

Asked if this was his personal opinion or the official view of the UNP, Senaratne said: “I think the party is of the same position.”