Astrologer faces govt’s wrath

Chandrasiri Bandara was arrested for predicting a change of government in Sri Lanka in September.
Mahinda Rajapaksa
Mahinda Rajapaksa

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police on Thursday arrested a popular astrologer, Chandrasiri Bandara, for predicting a change of government in September, with the present Prime Minister becoming the President, and the present Leader of the Opposition becoming the Prime Minister.

Bandara, who writes an astrology column on a major Sinhalese paper and also has a TV show going on, was taken in for questioning to find out on what basis he had predicted such a drastic change, police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekara said.

The astrologer had told a meeting at the opposition United National Party’s headquarters here, on June 18 that on September 9, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake would be made the President in place of Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the UNP chief and Leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe, would be made the Prime Minister.

The prediction was startling because it was made on the day the LTTE was defeated, with its leader Prabhakaran killed and terrorism wiped out from the face of the island country after a 30- year war. In a statement condemning the arrest, the General Secretary of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake, said the government was not only gagging political journalists but had begun silencing astrologers also. A local wag said that Sri Lankan astrologers could develop cold feet about reading the horoscopes of powerful political clients and Sri Lankan leaders might go to South India, especially Kerala, which is considered the Mecca of astrology.

Sri Lankans set much store by astrology, and astrological predictions may swing the mood of the people, either for or against a leader. Political leaders base their moves on astrological readings.

Former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, former President R Premadasa and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga were dependent on astrologers for their political decisions big and small.

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