Prison mail

View(s): 1087


Gnanasara hamuduruwaney,

I am not sure where I should direct this letter hamuduruwaney, whether it is to the prison, to the prison hospital or even whether it should be to your temple, but I thought I must write to you after hearing that you have been sent to prison for a second time. Again, it was for something you said.

When the news that you have been sent to prison hit the headlines, most people wondered why you were making a habit of this. It was only a few years ago that you were sent to jail for contempt of court, after directing insulting remarks to a Magistrate while his court was in session.

You got away with that one after serving only nine months thanks to Aiyo Sirisena. Like almost everything else that he did, we now realise that the pardon he granted you was also a mistake. You don’t seem to have learnt a lesson. That is why you find yourself in the position that you are in today.

Hamuduruwaney, you are entitled to privileges because of the yellow robe you wear. However, you have abused those privileges in the past to gain recognition among one section of our community. Unfortunately, you did so by trying to impose your own beliefs and prejudices on the rest of us.

Your actions had serious consequences. We all saw and heard how, 10 years ago you addressed crowds at Kalutara at a critical time. Your words inflamed pent up passions. Mobs went on the rampage. People died and property was damaged. Yet, you claimed you were only doing your ‘duty’.

You were not punished for your actions then. In fact, some sections of the community hailed you as a hero who was trying to save the ‘rata, jaathiya’. What you and a few others did was to set a very dangerous trend that was to continue for several years more. That led to even greater disasters.

You even earned a dishonourable mention from the Commission that investigated the Easter Day attacks which noted that the climate of fear that you created played a part in those events. I suspect that rather than look at that reprimand with a sense of shame, you still wear it as a badge of honour.

What you may not have realised is that, just as much as you used your position in society to propagate your prejudices, there were politicians who were smart enough to use you and the slogans you created to further their own frightening agendas and come to power. Sadly for all of us, they succeeded.

You did not go unrewarded. You were appointed by Gota maama to head a commission on ‘one country, one law’ in a land where laws did not apply at all to some people. So, they acted with impunity. Instead of gracefully saying no to that offer, you seemed to revel in your new found glory.

You didn’t do anything in that job. If you did, we won’t see different standards being applied to Diana and Ranjan, the Siddhalepa IGP and Natasha, Kappam Prasanna and Dr Shafie – and to you as well: why, that Commission recommended criminal action against you and that your ‘Senawa’ be banned!

Now though, the law has caught up with you. Some may call it ‘karma’. You should know more about that than most of us do. Already, you tried to get bail and was told that bail was for suspects and not for convicts. We hope that your sentence doesn’t become another circus because this is an election year.

You hardly lost any time in developing ‘prison sickness’, that mysterious illness that afflicts well-known people when they are found guilty of an offence and sent to prison. SB had the same illness years ago as did Duminda. More recently, Keheliya’s sickness was not believed by the court at all.

When you were sentenced last for contempt of court, it was for six years. Now It is for a period of four years. Aiyo Sirisena’s pardon saved you last time, but since then, Gota maama has managed to mess up the process of granting pardons as well, so it is unlikely that you will get lucky again.

With so much time on your hands while in prison, when you reflect on what has happened, we hope you will appreciate that those who gained positions of power because of what you said and did are not around to help you. Most of them are still in high places but they don’t want to defend you now.

You could think that your sentence will soon be commuted because, according to your faith, nothing is permanent. Still, isn’t it ironic that someone who claims to represent a faith that advocates compassion and non-violent discourse has to be sentenced for inciting hatred, hamuduruwaney?

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS: Hamuduruwaney, it is true that Aiyo Sirisena pardoned you, but, whatever you do, I hope you don’t follow in his footsteps. We have noticed that both of you have something in common: Both of you have perfected the art of opening your mouths and digging your own graves, more than once!

Share This Post