Was monk poisoned by kasippu barons?

By Leon Berenger and Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa

A monk who had been working against illicit liquor barons in Bakamuna, Dambulla area has been admitted to the Maha Nuwara General Hospital in a critical condition after being poisoned by an unknown party.

Rev. Ankubure Seelananda thera

Rev. Ankumbure Seelananda chief incumbent of the Atharagallawa Abeetha Aramaya who was offered a dish of poisoned dhal curry for breakfast was admitted to the Bakamuna hospital when he lost consciousness soon after eating the fatal curry.

The Rev. Seelananda was transferred to the Dambulla base hospital and then to Mahanuwara General Hospital as his condition was critical.

A dog who was given the remains of the Thera’s food died after eating it alarming the Daayka Sabawa. All food that were offered to the Thera was examined and the dhal curry was found to be poisoned. The said curry has been handed over to the police for further investigation.

On an earlier occasion another monk from the same temple was also poisoned. The monk had led several village agitation campaigns against the kassippu barons in the area and as a result had drawn the ire of several persons including those from influential quarters.

JVP PS member Mr. M.P. Khemasiri said, in recent weeks the 25-year-old monk had complained of death threats. Unidentified persons had even smashed several bottles of kassippu on the temple gates.

The young monk was respected by a large section of the village and was fearless in his agitation campaigns.

Villagers gather round the ambulance transporting Rev. Seelananda to hospital. Inset the Atharagallawa Abeetha Aramaya

Meanwhile police headquarters gave a different version of the entire case saying the monk was a fraud and of questionable character.

Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent (SSP) Ranjith Gunasekera said investigators had found porn material embedded in his mobile phone and the young monk had even sexually abused juniors in the same temple.

If this was the case, the question which arises is what the police were doing all the time. Independent sources claimed the OIC of the Bakumuna police station was a genuine officer but that political pressure was too much to handle.

Special teams to crack down on brewers

A senior official of the Excise Department said yesterday a special task force made up of four different units had been set up by the Excise Department to enforce a major crack down on manufacturers of illicit liquor throughout the country,.

Excise Commissioner General Mr. D.G.M.V. Hapuarachcchi told The Sunday Times that the task force had already begun hunting down major distillers from the beginning of this month in keeping with President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s pledge to eradicate this menace.

He said four teams headed by Assistant Commissioners have been ordered to fan out throughout the country. The main targets will be distillers rather than retail dealers.

Mr. Hapuarachcchi cautioned individuals against attempting to take unilateral action like carrying out agitation and other campaigns against these distillers saying they could become vulnerable to attack, as was the case in Bakumuna involving the Buddhist monk. He suggested the public could help by providing information in a discreet manner to the excise authorities who would act without delay. He said this was the best and safest way to combat the menace and promised the excise department would act without delay.

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Was monk poisoned by kasippu barons?


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