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Jathika Hela Urumaya
The Jathika Hela Urumaya (often approximated in English as National Heritage Party) is a political party in Sri Lanka which is led by Buddhist monks. It was launched in February, 2004 by the lay-based, Sinhala nationalist political party Sinhala Urumaya . Influential members include Kolonnawe Sumangala Thero, Uduwe Dhammaloka Thero, Dr. Omalpe Sobhitha , Athuraliye Ratana Thero, and Ellawela Methananda Thero. Some Sri Lankan Buddhists, including the All Island Clergy Organization , denounced the decision by monks to enter politics.
The Jathika Hela Urumaya its first parliamentary elections on April 2, 2004, which were Sri Lanka's most recent elections. All of its candidates were Buddhist monks. It won nine seats in parliament. Since the election, the party has been involved in a number of controversial issues, such as the introduction of a law to criminalize unethical conversions and proselytism. There has also been some quite dramatic infighting within the JHU parliamentary fraction, since the group which had been cobbled together just before the polls lacked unity on the issue of how to relate to government formation.
- An election statement from Jathika Hela Urumaya supporters
- Profile of the Jathika Hela Urumaya from Lankanewspapers.com
- Interview with leading members of the Jathika Hela Urumaya. February, 2004.
- News story describing tensions between monk-politicians and former Sihala Urumaya members
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