SINHALA BUDDHIST ETHNO nationalism
- Masquerading as Sri Lankan 'Civic Nationalism'
Sri Lanka monk vows to help recruit 20,000 soldiers
13 August 2000
Buddhist Monks signing up to join Sri Lanka
Aug 13 (AFP) - A senior Sri Lankan Buddhist monk has accepted a challenge
from the country's president to help enlist 20,000 men as a boost to the war
against Tamil rebels, a press report said Sunday. The monk, Galaboda
Gnanissara, said he could encourage youngsters to join the military if the
government made a "full commitment" to the campaign against the separatist
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
President Chandrika Kumaratunga had challenged Sinhalese extremists to
send 20,000 men to join the army, which is finding it difficult to attract
recruits amid a high desertion rate.
President Kumaratunga had said those who advocated a military solution
to the country's long-running Tamil separatist conflict should be prepared
to accept only half of their salary.
"The monk said the President and the cabinet needed to set an example by
donating half of their salaries, their vehicles and other facilities," the
Sunday Times said.
The monk, who is associated with hardline Sinhalese nationalism, said he
wanted 10 minutes daily on national television for a week to encourage
youngsters to enlist in the military.
"If there was systematic planning, he was confident of not 20,000 but
even 100,000 youths for the war," the paper said, quoting the monk, who runs
a successful vocational training centre in the capital.
Sri Lankan forces are locked in combat with Tamil Tiger guerrillas who
are leading a drawn out campaign for an independent homeland in the island's
More than 60,000 people have been killed in fighting in the past two