Charges over allegedly intentionally wounding religious feelings
BY Buddhika SamaraweeraThe Police’s Colombo Crime Prevention Division informed Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Thilina Gamage yesterday (31 May) that the Attorney General (AG) has instructed to file charges under Section 291A of the Penal Code against Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, for allegedly using words that are harmful to religious sentiments.Sections 291A reads thus: “Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person, or makes any gesture in the sight of that person, or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished” if convicted, with a maximum term of imprisonment of one year and/or a fine.The Crime Prevention Division had initiated an investigation against Ven. Gnanasara Thera for allegedly expressing insulting statements about the Quran to the media on 12 April 2014. The excerpts of the investigation had later been referred for the AG's advice.Accordingly, the Crime Prevention Division informed the Court that AG Sanjay Rajaratnam PC had instructed to file charges under Section 291A against Gnanasara Thera.A representative of the AG’s Department appeared for the plaintiff while Attorney-at-Law MP Premnath C. Dolawatte appeared for the defendant. The Chief Magistrate adjourned the case till 14 November.