Colombo, May 24 (BAN/ AD): A Sri Lankan hardline Buddhist monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara who was pardoned by President walked free from jail on Thursday. He is accused of inciting violence against Muslims and was convicted of contempt of court.
Huge crowd waited for hours outside Welikada prison in Colombo to see Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, but the monk left through a separate gate. His followers carried distorted national flag which excluded the green and orange color strips which represent ethnic minority Tamils and Muslims who together account for nearly a quarter of the country’s 22 million population.
His release has attracted criticism from Rights activists’ throughout Lanka. His pardon comes a week after extremist Buddhists attacked Muslim-owned homes, mosques and shops in apparent reprisal for the Easter bombings by Islamist militants that killed more than 250 people.